"Time to take this outside!"
Taking your Instructor-Led Academy, In-Service, Mandatory
and other Training 'Outside-the-Box' and Go Online
One thing that the current times have taught us is that we must get more adaptive and flexible with our training. This has been magnified in the Coronavirus of 2020, as an entire country has had to adjust to remote workforces. It is time to take this outside - outside the box.
The need to go "mobile" and outside our Instructor-Led Training (ILT) that lives inside the "box" of our four walls and our agency is not new. As illustrated in our White Paper, Navigating the Changing Seascape of Public Safety, and in our published article Training Challenges - Adjusting to the Changing Tides, the changing dynamics of our workforce were already upon us. But in public safety, especially law enforcement, we tend to be a little slow in recognizing the trends and the incoming or outgoing tides. There are a couple of reasons for this.
First, we have to recognize that as a law enforcement agency we are the epitome of a "stove-pipe." We typically spend our entire careers with one agency, promoting up the chain. And when we get to those positions of authority, having rarely stepped foot outside of our philosophical walls, we have no new ideas or best case practices that we can take from the outside world.
Secondly, and building off the first, nothing has changed in a few decades. In a survey conducted over that last couple of years, over 90 percent of the law enforcement agencies had made no significant changes to their academy training curriculum over the last decade.... or the decade before that. In other words, the vast majority of training officers across the country are still training a curriculum that was in place when they went through the academy 20 years ago.
Given that resistance and lack of change, we still wonder why mishaps are going up, retention is going down, diversity is difficult, and recruitment is evasive. Let's just add to that "Perfect Storm" (as we refer to it in the White Paper mentioned earlier) the fact that we've lost a lot of institutional knowledge because retirements have increased exponentially, and the fact that this new world order in the post-COVID19 world is forcing us into unchartered waters. Well, unchartered for most, but we have been there and in the online/mobile world for a while now.
We've been "Outside-the-Box" since 2010
Originally developed with DHS funding to Florida State University, and direct oversight of the USCG and MARAD, PortTraining was created and went "live" in 2010 as the nation's only comprehensive seaport security curriculum with flexible delivery options and online training management. this single-point training solution for ports, terminal operators, and first responder agencies provided two innovations with significant implications: First, it was the introduction of mobile training that provided flexible delivery options and lower costs. Secondly, it provided an online Learning Management System to track all training records (which we give to customers today at no cost.)
And the savings grow with the size of the facility or, in the case of large companies with distributed operations, with the number of terminals. PortTraining courses ensure regulatory compliance, and the secure training management system can be integrated with an existing HR system for true enterprise management of security training.
What you have to do to your training to go MOBILE- Right Now!
M = Move! Get in the water! Go Mobile! Organizational leaders and training/learning leaders in the public safety realm have to get off the sidelines, and realize that the digital transformation tide is flooding in all around you... you just need to bring your agency, department, or company into the water. And it's not too late. Even though the tide is rising, you're not going to miss the boat. (Especially considering that everyone in public safety is pretty much in the same boat.)
O = Operate with the Operator in Mind. Give your people the tools that they need to do their jobs. The rise of cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data-driven operations requires our expedient action in order for this critical workforce to perform at their highest levels. We need to provide them access to the educational, learning and training resources in a flexible, adaptable, and mobile environment. But we must keep the needs of the operator, as well as the organization, in mind in order to create a learning experience that works effectively, efficiently and economically.
B = Blend where needed. Online mobile learning is the focus of this discussion, but we all agree that some tasks and specialty skills require hands-on instructor guidance and review to ensure that the learning transfer has occurred. That can still be attained through the marriage of online/mobile learning and ILT, or blended learning.
I = Implement and Incorporate - Correctly. Utilize true SMEs when it comes to design and implementation. There may be a lot of people who are good instructors and maybe even design good courses, but the online world requires an entirely different skill set and knowledge of very specific learning dynamics that only apply in this space. The NMLEA staff includes Master Trainers, Instructional Designers, and Course Developers with a long history of successes that can guide you through the process of transformation. Implementation of online/mobile training also includes the incorporation of an effect Learning Management System (LMS), so that you can track student activity, keep accurate records, send reminders to participants and provide on-demand reports to senior leaders. The NMLEA's LMS was developed for the PortTraining Program and is provided to clients as part of our mobile services at no extra cost.
L = Look First. Conduct a thorough Training Needs Assessment. What courses can be converted to a mobile delivery platform? Which courses or skills are critical and need the highest priority? What training gaps do we have right now, that we might be overlooking? All questions, and many more, that if asked and answered correctly can enhance the success of your training program. We use the Academy's Approach to Comprehensive Training Solutions (ACTS) to guide the process. Also look at the company you are aligning with to help you through the process. Are they just another training company, or do they have a vested interest in your domain, with a pedigree of performance?
E = Effective, Efficient, Economic. A transition to an online world of education and training requires that it be effective (are we reaching more people now, is it better for the learners, and are we enhancing their performance?) that it be efficient (are we able to do more things with mobile training than we were before we migrated to the mobile learning platform? Can we reach people quicker than before when dependent on instructors and schedules?), and that it be economically advantageous (is it less costly than what you are spending for ILT? Can you reach more people and not increase costs by doing it this way?)
To learn more about how you can take your training "Mobile," contact us by clicking this link: firstname.lastname@example.org.