The Covd-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted how firefighters and police do their jobs, including how they get training on a regular basis. The days of sending teams to conventions or continuing education seminars—sometimes requiring overnight travel—are likely long gone. In its place, many organizations are turning to online learning platforms to provide their employees with training they need to stay up to date.
While online learning isn’t particularly new, it’s essential for emergency services to maintain their workers’ skills and knowledge, and choosing the right option can be challenging with so many choices available. What’s more, budget-stretched departments have to get the biggest bang for their training buck, ensuring that not only are training platforms available to everyone, but that they’re also effective.
What many departments might find, though, is that not all online learning options are equal. Some may be less expensive, but less engaging; others might cost more, but end up providing a higher level of value. Let’s take a closer look at some of the options available and the differences between them.
Types of Online Learning
Online learning can take a number of forms—and be delivered in a number of formats—but there are essentially two types to choose from.
The first is real-time learning, where there is an instructor who is broadcasting a lesson live as though s/he is there in person. The main difference here is that instead of attending in person, participants have to log into a platform such as Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc. Typically, these types of online sessions incorporate a presentation from the instructor, which is generally no different than what they would have delivered in person. A key difficult with this format is that, while engaging, there is little done to reinforce the lessons, making them potentially less effective.
The second is more course-based, where training lessons are self-directed, consisting of materials organized on an online platform. Materials can be articles, videos, quizzes, games, or other types of digital media. Participants can log into the platform whenever they want and from any location with an internet connection. One of the challenges with this method is that, while participants’ knowledge can be tested after completing the trainings, there is no room to ask questions or to dive deeper into a topic. Participants are stuck with the materials given to them.
Augmented Reality Training
One of the newest—and potentially most effective—forms of training is using augmented reality. Augmented reality trainings involve participants either wearing a specialized headset or even using their smartphone or tablets that display data and pertinent information on top of whatever the participant is looking at.
Augmented reality trainings present the best of both training types, while also providing an experience that is far more hands-on. What’s more, they can be used to present real-life situations that firefighters and police officers encounter in a more tangible and realistic way than other formats. Ultimately, this likely makes them more effective, as they can help first responders develop skills and “muscle memory” on how to handle a variety of situations.
Want to learn more about adding augmented reality to your department’s training toolbox? Avrio Analytics can help! Contact us to schedule a consultation about integrating AR into your mission-critical operations.