During the Covid-19 pandemic, Fire and EMS instructors have to accept and adapt to the new “normal” in fire and EMS training. Not only is this true in our personal lives, but in our careers as well. We simply can’t wait until things change. Instead, we must change with the times. As an instructor, you must continue to move forward to satisfy your crew’s fire and EMS training and certification requirements. This training is imperative to improve skills, increase the safety of personnel, and by extension, the community they serve. Working from home is not an option for first responders!
Keep Training On Track
Remote learning and adapting different learning models have become increasingly popular in fire and EMS education. This was true even before the coronavirus struck. For volunteer fire departments, online training models have been invaluable in keeping their member’s training on-track due to their flexibility and convenience.
Many paid and combination Fire and EMS departments have been offering online or distance learning for some time. Many others are now adding it to their cache of training tools. Not only does this help to address the many different learning styles of their members, but instructors have also found that the “flipped” classroom or “hybrid” model better allows them to keep their training moving forward. It also helps to limit the time spent in the classroom, allowing more time devoted to hands-on skills training.
When asked about Action Training Systems (ATS) online training use for her volunteers, Paula Heitt, from Winona Fire in Texas said, “To be able to access online learning wherever they are, gives [firefighters] an opportunity to learn at their own pace. We have firefighters that go very rapid through the modules, very quick through the post test and we have that instant retention. But we also have firefighters who are much more comfortable going through the module’s one or two time’s before they get to the post test and that flexibility for a learner is a big benefit because everyone learns so differently.”
Online Interactive = Micro Learning
Adjusting your training and education model for your department, whether paid or volunteer, won’t be very difficult if you employ the many different products Action Training Systems (ATS) offers. ATS Online Interactive Courses provide a “micro” learning model by breaking up the information into single learning objectives for each section of the course.
Training content contains dynamic, engaging, full-motion video; not static screens of text. Interactive questions are posed throughout each section to confirm understanding. A final exam helps verify comprehension and allows the instructor to identify areas that a student might be struggling with. Once courses are completed, instructors can focus on specific areas, expand on SOPs, and train in smaller groups.
Again, customer and Training Officer Paula Heitt remarked that, “The video format is really a step up as far as helping with retention. We’ve seen that with our firefighter students, shifting from just a didactic white board type of education to a dynamic video-based education has improved their retention, especially for folks that struggle with reading long sections of text. We know there’s people that this is a challenge for, so that video format versus “death by PowerPoint” has been a big improvement.”
A Powerful LMS & Proven Success Rate
Many ATS customers have experienced improved test scores from students using our courses. Their passing of Fire and EMS certification tests have shown that ATS Online training has helped to increase knowledge and retention of information. ATS has organizational accreditation from CAPCE for EMS Online Interactive Courses and in some states, Fire Certification is also available.
The ATS Learning Management System (LMS) allows instructors to view course status and completion details like timestamps, number of attempts, and final exam scores. Instructors can communicate with their students via the LMS to assign curricula using an internal message board, as well as set up automated reporting. Transcripts and certificates are also available on-demand to both students and instructors.
“The use of the LMS is a big tool for me as an instructor,” says Hiett. “To be able to see what type of progress the learner’s making. Where are their strengths, where are their weaknesses, what modules or topics are they struggling with? So, the progress reports provided in the LMS are an excellent tool for me, as an educator”
By employing a combination or hybrid model of online courses, follow-up lectures, and hands-on skills training, you will be able to keep your training and certifications on-track, regardless of what the world dishes out next!
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