The concept of conducting “learning labs” with interactive activities is based on numerous studies that show interactive learning is more effective than lecturing. Interactive learning has shown significant improvement in student performance, increases in exam scores, and a decrease in the likelihood of students failing courses. To leverage this capacity for increased learning and retention, the Outreach team organizes and conducts learning labs or “Tools of the Trade sessions” (TOTs), which consist of hands-on activities (otherwise known as “tools”) designed to educate participants on agricultural hazards and protective strategies used to prevent injuries and illness.


The first learning labs conducted by the outreach team were done as part of the National FFA Expo in 2012. They have since been included in the 2018 and 2019 Child Agricultural Safety and Health Workshops. In early 2020, learning labs (TOTs) were planned as part of the 2021 ASCHA Summit. When the summit was changed to a virtual conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the TOTs were also converted to a virtual format, featuring video demonstrations of interactive safety “tools” that producers and organizations could use with their workers and clients to increase safety on agricultural operations. The virtual sessions also included materials explaining how to access or build these tools and handouts with suggestions for practicing with these tools. These virtual TOTs, including videos and associated materials, are now available at


Live sessions of these learning labs or TOTs continue to be included as part of the Child Ag Safety and Health Workshops, as well as included in other live conferences. The 2023 WEMSA Conference will feature TOTs in their “KeyNot” session, which replaces the traditional opening keynote speaker with these live interactive sessions, introducing EMS personnel to the fun and interactive activities, which they can then share in their communities.