IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Stability of fork lift trucks – Development of a training module by means of a participatory didactic


Following a request from members of the defunct SISEC committee stating that they were having difficulty teaching and having operators learn the concepts related to fork lift truck stability, an accompaniment procedure was initiated and proposed. The aim of this procedure, developed by a didactic specialist during his doctoral studies and tested numerous times prior to the current project, was to develop a new teaching environment—in collaboration with instructors involved in this type of training. The training in question is theoretical in nature and deals with the safe operation of fork lift trucks. Thirteen instructors, from various organizations, met seven times over a period of more than one year, to develop this environment in collaboration with the didactic specialist who was responsible for guiding the meetings.

The expertise of a vehicle dynamics specialist was also used. As well, each meeting was evaluated by the participants—through self-administered questionnaires and completed by group meetings—in order to document their assessment of this process and the teaching material developed. One objective was to evaluate the potential of this accompaniment process as an additional tool to be made available to IRSST knowledge transfer advisors, who have, as one of their mandates, the promotion of a closer relationship between knowledge producers and potential users.

From a classical teaching approach—called transmission—based on lectures in which the instructor transmits the knowledge to the apprentices who listen most of the time, the new didactic environment is focused on active methods of learning that fit into situated cognition and acquisition learning.

The apprentice operator and his learning process thus become the centre of the educational process, while the role of instructor changes so that he becomes the one promoting the matching of the learner with the learning subject through various activities involving action by the fork lift truck operators. The starting point is not the concept to be learned but the situation in which this concept becomes meaningful and relevant. The teaching environment thus consists of four main activities and various tools that can be manipulated by the apprentice operators, all hosted on a Web site available to instructors.

The assessment of the process and material developed—as expressed by the instructors—was very positive, although it fluctuated. Despite this high level of appreciation and a strong collective commitment, only two participants out of the thirteen tested the new teaching environment. This result seems to contradict the instructors' general assessment, even though the group interviews identified several factors that can explain this. The discussion addresses this appropriation question and identifies three conditions that played a role in whether the instructors were hesitant or not to "throw" themselves into the testing. Based on this experience and from the perspective of extending its use to other transfer themes, avenues of reflection are proposed to maximize the outcomes of this accompaniment process. One limitation of this study is that it is based on only one case; follow-up of its application to other cases is desirable to complete the evaluation of its interest and relevance. This precaution is well founded, considering the very great diversity of innovations resulting from OHS studies and the desire that they be the subject of appropriation by the clients for whom they were intended.

Additional Information

Category: Research Report
  • Denys Denis
  • Sylvie Beaugrand
  • Henri Boudreault
  • Christian Larue
Research Project: 0099-7600
Online since: June 07, 2011
Format: Text