Presentation W P16

W P16 (Poster Presentation):
E-learning for computer workers

Presented by: Dwayne Van Eerd


Van Eerd D1,2, King T1, Fernley M2, MacGregor C2, Robertson M3, Amick III B1,4

  1. Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, Canada
  2. University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada
  3. Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety
  4. Florida International University, Miami, USA



Office workers may be at risk for MSDs and reduced productivity due to sub-optimal computer workstation set up. Often, optimal workstation setup is relatively easy to achieve by workers with appropriate training. E-learning has been shown to be just as effective as In-person training (IPT) in knowledge acquisition and changing practices. However, it is important for training to be as up-to-date as possible with science and standards. The project partners with health and safety associations in Ontario to develop an office ergonomics E-learning. The objective of this presentation is to describe the development and testing of an E-learning for office ergonomics.


The E-learning was developed using instructional design theory. A pilot evaluation of the Beta-version of the E-learning was completed at a single site including focus group testing among two sets of office workers (6-8 per group) and usability testing. A more in-depth evaluation of effectiveness was done in a controlled field trial in a variety of workplaces from various sectors in Ontario. Data from the pilot test and field trial have been used to update the E-learning from a Beta-version to a final version. Work is underway to update the content, usability, and software for a broad release of the E-learning.


Focus group feedback identified navigation changes, the need for a glossary and content limits. Usability testing identified timing issues, user evaluation challenges, and screen resolution improvements. Pilot evaluation revealed statistically significant changes in outcomes of: knowledge, self-efficacy, work postures, workstation configuration and adjustments, and symptoms. Following pilot testing, further content changes were made based on expert advisory panel recommendations and feedback from study participants to create Beta-version 2.0. Version 2.0 was used in a large field trial comparing IPT, E-learning, and enhanced approaches. E-learning and IPT performed similarly on all outcomes measured.


We describe development steps, and testing of an E-learning for computer workers. The E-learning shows promise as an effective and cost-effective method of reducing the common hazards of computer work. Future research will explore the effectiveness of “enhancing” the E-learning with short IPT modules.

Schedule Details

Wednesday October 1
13:00 - 14:00 Poster Viewing
Session: Varia