As a pioneer in eLearning, I can relate to several questions you may have when it comes to eLearning. Like you, I had several questions when I was first introduced to this new technology. So, you’re responsible for training for your Fire Department and you just acquired a new Learning Management System for your Department training. As you looked through the training they had to offer, a lot of it didn’t follow your SOP’s and Protocols. As the new training officer, you want to be able to convert your existing training into what the training community calls eLearning or online training. As the department trainer, you ask yourself the following questions:
So, you have come to the right place. Our new blog community will help you get started. Get new ideas from firefighters and training personnel who share the same love and passion for eLearning training as you! In this blog, we can share examples, templates, slides, interactions, assessments and much more.
In order for this community to grow within the fire department training community, we need to hear from you. If you have any questions, or just want to throw around some ideas, we’d love to hear them. So, to introduce you to what eLearning is, we need to get a better understanding on how online training relates to the traditional brick and mortar. I am not saying that one is better than the other; but, knowing when to use the right way one to deliver the training is important. As a training officer, you need to figure out what type of training you’re trying to deliver to your Fire Department, as well as the time frame you have to deliver this, will then determine which delivery method is best for your agency. The first thing you need to look into is the size of your department. How many members need the training you will deliver? How fast do you need to deliver this training? Would you have to cancel exchange of duties or vacations? In order to get everyone through the training, will you have to relocate units throughout the city and take them out of territory or out of service? Now that you have answered these questions, your next thing to consider is the amount of trainers: do you have enough trainers to deliver your training effectively? Do they know the knowledge or have the background to deliver the training? Will the training you are going to offer change, or will it stay the same?
As you can see, there are a lot of questions you need to answer before you can choose which method of training delivery will work right for your department. But wait, there’s more…
Does your fire station have computers or Internet connections? Can the computers at their stations hear or view video? Working for one of the largest cities in the United States, we just had desktops installed to help facilitate this type of training. We had what they called “dummy” terminals for checking emails and writing reports with no audio or graphic video capabilities.
If you were to ask me what my favorite method to deliver the training was, I would tell you “Flipped” training is my favorite to deliver. The flipped learning model is now moving into the fire rescue community where more class time is actually utilized for the hands-on portion of the training than the actual class portion.
For example, some special operations institutions are reconsidering how they train their technical rescue teams. Currently, special operations training such as Vehicle Machinery or Rope Rescue Operations training consists of classroom instructional time followed by hands-on training in the operation of the actual equipment. This same style of training has also appeared in the EMS community with Emergency Medical Technician Certification where the classroom training is done online and the hands-on lab portion is done at the institutions.
If more departments and trainers move to a flipped learning model, they can replace the class instructional time with online instructional modules with embedded video to be viewed and completed prior to showing up for the training session. The trainers can then use the face-to-face time to have the students apply their learning by either using equipment or engaging in scenario style simulations. This style of training gives the firefighters more time to apply what they have learned. Once the hands-on is delivered, the student can then access the online delivery platform (LMS) to take their assessment making sure they have mastered the content before taking their training out into the field.
To be continued…