E-Learning History for Emergency Responders

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Instructor led training [ILT], also known as classroom training, was the traditional training method used for both military and police for the past 500 years, or more.  In the 1990’s, this began to change as the U.S. military realized that service jobs were requiring more advanced and measurable individualized training.  Let us look some early examples.  At the U.S. Air Force Medical School, instructors learned that by combining traditional ILT with self-paced online training, the traditional 16-week course for new medical doctors could be reduced to 8 weeks, or less.  Student and experienced pilots now “fly” computers, and tanker crews train in computerized simulators.

With a few exceptions, such as driving simulators and interactive shoot-don’t shoot systems, law enforcement and corrections managers have been slow to adopt distance-learning solutions.  In part, this is because traditional budget cycles and state funding have been earmarked to traditional academy training delivery.  As federal, state, and local training funds dry up, agencies are moving to more efficient, measurable, and effective alternative training methods.  Leading this change is distance learning [DL], where an officer can sit at a desk, or in his patrol unit, and take online training at their own pace, and with improved retention of critical information.  

Some progressive law enforcement academies are even combining ILT and DL delivery methods to address targeted training needs in such critical areas as tactical driving, firearms proficiency, and less lethal tactics.

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