Computer-based training can be traced back to the mini-computer and mainframe of the 1960s and ‘70s. It was the first-time training was conducted without having to rely on printed worksheets or face-to-face instruction, and instead, employees logged into shared terminals to access training materials. It was 1998 when we experienced the first generation of online instruction.

(Source: eLearning Industry https://elearningindustry.com/history-of-blended-learning)

Curated Content as a Service

Today, many organizations deliver online instruction through training platforms, which are online tools that provide training administrators and employees access to information and resources that support training delivery and management. However, not all training platforms are the same, and there are pitfalls to having a legacy platform in place.

What is a legacy training platform?

Legacy training platforms refer to software applications that rely on old methods and have become outdated, such as traditional Content-as-a-Service (CaaS).

Traditional CaaS software provides a content repository, such as a collection of videos, research papers and PowerPoints, to be accessed by organizations for training and professional development needs. While having content in one place is certainly beneficial, there are disadvantages to having this type of legacy system within your organization. Legacy System

For example, some organizations purchase off-the-shelf training that is designed for a mass-market audience versus a specific organization’s need. The traditional CaaS will store the off-the-shelf training, but it lacks the capability to distinguish what training is relevant to your organization’s specific needs. Additionally, protocols and industry standards constantly change, and traditional systems aren’t wired to update courses and content that would be considered outdated or obsolete.

It can also be difficult for training administrators to get to the content they want within the traditional CaaS platform because they’re spending time filtering through unneeded training. In the end, organizations may have learning content that they do not utilize or worse, is not relevant to their current needs.

What is Curated Content-as a-Service?

Engagement is critical when training your employees. According to HR Daily Advisor, “When learners are provided access to personalized, curated learning content that is applicable to their current roles and career trajectories, they will constantly search for opportunities to exhibit the skills they’re learning at work because they’ll be relevant. And when they optimize their performance and see how their learning paths are helping them achieve their goals and move forward in their career trajectories, they’ll be more engaged at work.”

Curated Content as a Service

At Benchmark, we understand that the most successful LMS outcomes is research-driven, evidenced-based eLearning content. Equally important, the most effective LMS is one that engages your employees in a way that inspires them, elevates their skills and improves their performance in meaningful, measurable ways. Which is why our LMS strategy employs Curated Content-as-a-Service™ (C-CaaS) as our differentiating, breakthrough process for enabling 21st century workforce skills in the workplace.

We’ve adapted the 21st Century Workforce Skills model to serve as a roadmap for partnering with public sector entities to create a thoughtful, curated content plan that will elevate your employee skill sets – and measurably improve performance levels ­– to better meet the needs and goals of your agency.

Here’s how the process works:

  • Meet and Assess
    Meet to understand and assess your current training program and compliance needs — as well as the level of workforce skills.
  • Establish Objectives
    Set eLearning objectives to comply with your training guidelines and address specific areas in need of improvement.
  • Curate Content
    Assign a Benchmark C-CaaS team of research-driven content curators to identify and deploy content that meets your objectives — accessing our robust library of eLearning offerings.
  • Configure and Implement
    Collaborate with your employee development team to configure and implement our LMS platform to meet your unique needs.
  • Evaluate and Evolve
    Evaluate your LMS content regularly to track performance, obtain feedback and make informed adjustments to evolve and advance your offerings.

Our LMS was built specifically with public sector agencies in mind. The Benchmark eLearning team includes thought leaders with years of experience in government operations, policymaking, education, professional development and eLearning proficiency.

Their expertise includes research and data analytics, software architecture and design, research-based content curation — along with highly skilled platform configuration, implementation and customer support.

To learn more, visit our Benchmark eLearning Differentiator: Curated Content-as-a-Service™ page at https://www.benchmarkanalytics.com/government-lms/

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) has impacted communities across the country, as law enforcement and other public sector agencies prepare for the short- and long-term effects of this virus. This includes having tools in place to support staffing, training and communication; having ample supplies such as personal protective equipment (PPE); being prepared for evolving community requests; and delivering plans and procedures that reflect recommendations from local, state and federal authorities. COVID-19 Funding

To ensure that public safety agencies across the U.S. are prepared for the current impact of COVID-19, as well as what lies ahead, Federal grant resources have been issued.

Federal Grant Resources: BJA-CESF
On March 30, 2020 a grant solicitation was shared by the Office of Justice Programs  regarding the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) program. The funding program has $850 million available and the BJA intends to make 1,873 awards.

The BJA-CESF program will provide funding to assist eligible states, local units of government, and tribes in preventing, preparing for, and responding to the coronavirus. BJA -CESF

In the solicitation, the BJA shared that “States, U.S. Territories, the District of Columbia, units of local government, and federally recognized tribal governments that were identified as eligible for funding under the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 State and Local Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program are eligible to apply under the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) Program solicitation. Only the State Administering Agency that applied for FY 2019 JAG funding for a state/territory may apply for the state allocation of CESF funding.”

The eligible allocations for the FY 2020 CESF Program can be found at: https://bja.ojp.gov/program/fy20-cesf-allocations

What will BJA-CESF be used for?
Funds awarded under the CESF program will be used to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. Allowable projects and purchases include, but are not limited to:

  • Overtime, equipment (including law enforcement and medical PPE)
  • Hiring
  • Supplies (such as gloves, mask, sanitizer)
  • Training (such as training management software for organization-wide virtual training — as well as cross-training of personnel for temporary duty reassignment to assure proper coverage of essential duties)
  • Travel expenses (particularly related to the distribution of resources to the most impacted areas)
  • Addressing the medical needs of inmates in state, local, and tribal prisons, jails and detention centers.

BJA-CESF program next steps
The application for BJA-CESF is due May 29, 2020. Cities and states are awarded funding on an ongoing, rolling basis from now till the application due date.

For more information how the BJA-CESF program works and grant submission help, visit our Grants Page at https://www.benchmarkanalytics.com/covid19-grants/.

The importance of COVID-19 data collection
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has shared that collecting data and documenting response protocols for future review and assessment during this time is important as well. “While pandemics rarely occur, an agency can learn a lot about its emergency response by studying past efforts,” as stated in IACP’s resource Organizational Readiness: Considerations for Preparing Your Agency for COVID-19. Types of data include, but are not strictly limited to, COVID-19-related calls for service, officer exposure, staffing numbers, and health and wellness measures of officers.

COVID-19 Data Collection

To that, agencies are partnering with personnel management software providers for monitoring, tracking and reporting data. For example, the Benchmark Management System® can create custom COVID-19 Exposure Forms that capture interactions related to coronavirus — to help identify trends, facilitate proactive intervention and help keep department personnel serving on the frontlines safe. This data can also be used post-pandemic to justify reimbursement of expenditures at the state and federal levels.

Visit benchmarkanalytics.com to learn more.

 

More than ever before, public safety and other local government agencies – including state, county and all municipalities therein – face a host of challenges within their respective communities.  Creative thinking and discovering new ways to problem solve are critical at this time — as is identifying the most effective means for communication and collaboration between colleagues.

21st Century SkillsWith that said, it is essential for today’s public sector workforces to be equipped with 21st century skills that allow them to be successful in complex work environments . . . while executing daily operations. These skills include:

  • Critical Thinking: The ability to observe, analyze, problem-solve, and make decisions.
  • Creative Thinking: The ability to organize, see what’s not there, and problem-solve in an open-minded, stimulating environment.
  • Collaboration: The ability to work effectively with others, compromise, and delegate.
  • Communication: The ability to share ideas in different formats, both oral and written, as well as actively listening and engage with one another.
  • Information Literacy: The ability to identify, find, evaluate, and use information effectively.
  • Media Literacy: The ability to identify and utilize different types of media — and understand the messages shared.
  • Technology Literacy: The ability to use and understand technology to access, integrate, create and communicate information.
  • Flexibility: The ability to adapt to change, as well as the willingness and ability to respond to changing circumstances.
  • Initiative: The ability to think individually and innovatively, develop and implement something new, unique or improved . . . and make incremental, bold changes to improve processes.
  • Social Skills: The ability to listen, cooperate, and have empathy for others.
  • Productivity: The ability to problem-solve, manage time, handle stress, and make solid, actionable decisions.
  • Leadership: The ability to think strategically, manage people, initiate change —and plan and deliver on proposed activities and projects.

Source: http://www.nea.org/tools/52217.htm

How Do We Advance 21st Century Skills in the Public Sector Workforce?

We are two decades into the century so the concept of  “21st century skills“ is not a new one, and some may assume that today’s workforce has embraced these skills. Yet, research shows that, for many, 21st century skills are still lagging. According to an American Management Association Critical Skills Survey, 51.4 percent of survey respondents said employees had average communication skills — and 46.9 percent stated employees had average skills in creativity. Additionally, in a report by the Stanford History Education Group, individuals in the study demonstrated a lack of literacy skills and had a hard time distinguishing advertisements from news articles . . . or identifying where information came from.

As community leaders, public safety and other local agencies must all take action to continue building these skills. This is not a lofty aspiration.

21st Century WorkforceWith the right tools and plans in place, organizations can provide the training and courses to build their current workforce. Public safety agencies and municipalities can begin by utilizing technology, such as an effective learning management system (LMS), to turbo-charge the learning experience. The Journal stated a 21st century LMS should have an intuitive interface, collaboration tools that go beyond standard teacher-learner communication, analytics and reporting dashboards — and the capacity to structure learning for and individuals, as well as for an entire organization.

Additionally, an effective LMS can provide courses that build specific 21st century skills. A few examples include:

  • Courses that are collaborative and measure success by department or unit results build collaboration skills.
  • Courses that promote cross-cultural understanding build social skills.
  • Courses that provide opportunities for learners to lead, implement and delegate develop leadership skills.

The entire public sector workforce can develop 21st century skills by establishing mentoring programs where individuals collaborate, share knowledge — and communicate both in-person and through written formats. The Alliance for Innovation also suggests organizations can create career development programs, utilizing features in the LMS, where employees move in various directions – gaining essentials skills to keep pace in today’s workplace.

The Benefits Are Clear. 

The benefits of developing your workforce goes far beyond day-to-day operations. By advancing 21st century skills, employees are increasing their capabilities to manage their responsibilities efficiently and effectively — and employers are strengthening their internal groups to develop, grow and lead the organization.21st Century Public Sector Skills

If you are ready to learn more about tools that can help your organization build 21st century skills, take a look at our blog post “The Benefits of a Learning Management System for Today’s Public-Sector Organizations.”

A robust learning management system (LMS) software can make a big impact on an organization’s training and professional development strategy. Case in point: e-learning can increase learning retention rates by 25 to 60 percent (TechJury), vs. 8 to 10 percent with face-to-face training.

So what exactly is a robust LMS?
A comprehensive, top-to-bottom software application that can administer, manage, track and deliver training and learning effectively across an entire organization. It’s software that provides easy ways for administrators to deliver content, as well as easy ways for your workforce to access the information, participate in threaded discussions, and complete courses. These systems built specifically for advancing learning can also be used to host compliance training, as well as generate required reports and certifications.

Public safety, in fact all municipal government sectors that utilize an LMS, can make a huge impact on the way their employees learn and experience professional development. Here are some fundamental things to keep in mind when considering an LMS software for your organization:

1. One size does not fit all.
The unique needs of public safety and municipal agencies are important considerations when it comes to selecting the right training platform partner. Not all systems are alike and can vary in their ability to meet the personalized needs and engagement criteria you’ve set for your team.

Learning Management System, One Size Does Not Fit AllFor instance, an LMS allows organizations to upload all their training content, multimedia, PowerPoints, and much more into a secure platform that allows them to assign training by person, job role, department, unit, or location — all depending on their unique training needs.

According to eLearning Industry, with the right LMS environment, employees feel empowered to interact and engage within the software platform, learn at their own pace, and participate in each step of every course/training session. If an individual prefers team-based learning, they can go through a collaborative training plan with their peers.

2. Enhanced tracking.
For organizations that provide training for multiple employees, it can be difficult to track learner progress and engagement, as well as course completion dates. With a robust LMS software, organizations can easily manage employee training schedules, track learning and professional development activities, and access certifications required for compliance.

Being able to track when individuals finish courses or training segments provides organizations the information they need to move employees along the learning path — whether to continue to develop their skills in current courses or move onto the next online learning activity. It can also inform when the last training was taken, and what must be retaken, to ensure employees’ skills and knowledge are up to date. Additionally, if leadership sees that an employee hasn’t successfully completed courses, they can connect with the employee and collaborate to create a training plan that leads to growth and success.

For public safety agencies specifically, tracking training activities is crucial for managing certifications to meet mandatory compliance. With an effective LMS in place, there is instant insight and visibility into your workforce’s compliance activity through tracking and dashboarding functionalities.

3. Easy access to information.
LMS software provides training administrators and end-users easy access to information, whether it be generating custom reports or access to specific courses. Reports can outline learner progress, as well provide updates on completion of courses and certifications.

Learning Management System Access to InformationGaining access to metrics around course completion and course abandonment allows administrators to evaluate if the content being delivered is serving its purpose by meeting the needs of their organization. It also helps training leaders develop next steps for the organization — whether it be adding new materials and resources or assigning a new version of content for compliance purposes.

The benefits of a robust Learning Management System are real and compelling — which is why so many organizations across the U.S. utilize them. If you are ready to adopt an LMS, or are looking to switch to one built for your public-sector organization, visit
https://www.benchmarkanalytics.com/government-lms/ to learn more.

Training doesn’t have a sterling record in the business world. Studies have found that after one hour, people forget more than 50% of a lesson.

This isn’t necessarily new information, either. In the 19th century, German Psychologist, Hermann Ebbinghaus, published research demonstrating “The Forgetting Curve.” He found that humans forget 40% of what they learn within 20 minutes.

How to Develop Goals for Your In-Service Learning Management System

After 9 hours, we’ve forgotten about 64%.

And yet we continue to train because we continue to uncover new approaches and new skills that can be critical to influencing how we work. The act of training itself isn’t falling short as much as the tools we use to deliver and reinforce it.

Organizations use Learning Management Systems (LMS) to provide training to their employees at scale. This software is often deployed using a Software-as-a-service (SaaS), or online training, model. Which means you and your team can access the software in the field, at your desk, or at home, without losing momentum.

Know What You Want from Your LMS

efore transitioning to a new LMS, or choosing one for the first time, it’s important to articulate exactly what you hope to get from it. SMART is a helpful framework for goal-setting that’s probably familiar. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

For example, a SMART goal could be:

  • 100% of patrol officers will have completed the revised Use of Force training by May 12, 2019.
  • By 2021, new de-escalation training will reduce citizen complaints by 25%

If you find you can’t execute against your goals with your current system, work with your team to find out why. Is it due to software limitations or something else? This will help you identify which features will be most important to your team should you choose to implement a new or different LMS.

What to Ask Before You Start Goal-Setting

Once you’ve decided to pursue an LMS, create a rubric to guide your decision making. It should reflect your goals for the system, as well as any internal or external mandates your agency must comply with.

Support the certification of your officers

Certification is a critical part of an officer’s career. For better or worse, many advances in technology entail a certification process: breathalyzers, TASERS, firearms. The list goes on. This can make staying compliant feel like a full-time job, a responsibility that’s only exacerbated by outdated tools like desktop spreadsheets. An LMS can automate much of this process, thus reducing your overall department risk of under-delivering on training (and increasing your exposure to liability) while improving the training experience for your officers. Leveraging this automation lets you comfortably co-exist with the complexity of maintaining certifications across your entire department.

Reduce the burden of data management (literally…and figuratively)

binders-of-officer-training-dataBinders are no one’s friend. Especially when you’re trying to deliver crucial training in use of force or active shooters. Using an LMS lets you deliver courses to your team through a centralized digital classroom that’s easily maintained by your trainers. This enables your department to stay nimble in understanding how to respond to emerging threats while maintaining best practices in other areas.

Confidently review status updates on the progress of officer training

When a salesperson misunderstands or fails to adopt tactics from a coaching session, the worst-case scenario is some prospect enduring a bad pitch. For police officers, the consequences are high-stakes. Using an LMS provides your leadership team with a single view into training adoption and progress. This is especially useful during accreditation processes like the one offered by CALEA, or when maintaining training standards mandated by the state or POST.

Minimize your department’s exposure to risk

If an officer’s performance is ever scrutinized by a third-party external to your department, the last thing you want is gaps in training data (or people data in general). An LMS allows you to easily generate documentation that shows a holistic view of the your officer’s training history, which you can refine to only include data relevant to the case in question. This ease of reporting extends to any request for officer records like those solicited under FOIA.

Provide your officers with the tools to continuously hone and learn important skills

Perhaps most important, an LMS provides the digital infrastructure your officers need to perform at their best. It also provides you with the insight you need to shape future training goals based on performance or knowledge gaps that reveal themselves through your department’s data.

Which Features Support Your Goals?

Once you have the goals for your LMS documented, you can start to identify which features and functionally you’ll need to support them. Here are some examples of options you’ll encounter:

  • Tracking adoption and training activity
  • Reporting on compliance and officer performance
  • Integrations with other technology you use to track Use of Force, Community Engagement activities, as well as performance evaluation
  • SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) Compliance, which is a content development standard used by training providers; this is especially important if you rely on a lot of third-party content for training
  • User interface (how does it look to your learners and trainers, and how easy is it to use?)

As you think about your current training resources and how you’d like to see them evolve in the coming years, consider whether or not they can support SMART goals to the same degree an LMS can. If not, it’s likely time to consider a new solution.

You’ve heard the saying, “Those who can’t do, teach.” That might be true for an aspiring actor turned high school drama instructor, but when it comes to field training officers (FTOs), it’s typically an agency’s top performers who are chosen to teach your department’s recruits.

Most FTOs will tell you that field training is one of the toughest assignments in an officer’s career. The role comes with four dimensions of accountability: your agency, your trainee, your community, and yourself. This multi-level accountability is why removing friction and adding automation to your FTO’s toolkit is essential.

Human error can be an inevitable part of policing, but acknowledging its potential is different from accepting it. In fact, up until recently, departments distributed and tracked recruit training with a pen, paper, and binders containing an entire forest’s worth of material. The inefficiencies of this outdated system only added to the stress of training a recruit.

The Two (Not So Great) Use-Cases for Paper Daily Observation Reports

mountain-paper-reportsA key component to field training is the Daily Observation Report. These reports track the evolution of a new recruit to full-time officer. As your agency transitions to more digital systems, the DOR becomes an essential data-point in understanding the effectiveness of your training (e.g., identifying gaps in the curriculum), and the career trajectory of your officers.

The typical DOR consists of four elements:

  • Assessment
  • Narrative
  • Training Tasks
  • End of Day Summary

When you capture this information on paper and file it away, you are essentially discarding any potential insight.

Best case scenario, those files live out the rest of their days in a beige cabinet. Worst case scenario, your agency scrambles to find records to either support or dispute claims related to an officer’s training history.

Outside of capturing those four elements, what else should your FTO software do?

Be Digital: Either On-Premise or in the Cloud

There are two approaches to implementing a new type of software. You can either choose to host it yourself on-premise (meaning your agency probably has an IT team with its server resources) or decide to use software living in the cloud.

police-field-training-digitalIf you’re reading this post, you’re likely familiar with The Cloud, or at least have used technology hosted in it. It’s a fluffy name for data or software that’s stored and used through someone else’s servers.

Regardless of your preference, it’s essential to digitize your DORs. This allows you to leverage the many advantages of software — functions like collaboration, reporting, automation, and integrating your other technologies like CAD and RMS.

Go Beyond Field Training

Field training is only the beginning of an officer’s (hopefully) long career. FTO’s understand that every officer they instruct becomes part of their legacy. The principles they instill will inform every subsequent in-service activity that recruit performs as an LEO.

A beneficial FTO solution will extend to integrate with your in-service training platform. This allows you to understand an officer holistically, without losing signals in the noise of re-certification and other procedural necessities. It also helps you detect patterns in long-term outcomes of your FTO program. This can be useful in recognizing exceptional trainers and preventing FTO burnout.

Configure to Your Agency’s Training Requirements

Finally, FTO software should align with your department’s particular needs. Law enforcement is a fluid, ever-changing profession, with new laws, regulations, and technology emerging yearly (California, New Jersey, and other states are currently wrestling with new mandates that will fundamentally change the systems and processes that departments in these states had in place).

Trying to manage all these changes with paper-based or cobbled-together solutions could lead to compliance violations, or worse. Training is a pillar of policing, and field training is the foundation of that pillar. A single crack can spread to imperil the whole structure. police-officer-cpr-training

Your FTO software should configure to support the following:

  • Your agency’s Assessment Categories
  • Your agency’s Evaluation Scale and Rubric
  • Your agency’s training activities
  • Your compliance or standards guidelines (e.g., CALEA or POST)
  • Your agency’s certification requirements (e.g., CPR or emerging technology like TASERs)

Beyond that, it should be easy for your FTO to input their assessment, narrative, and End-of-Day summary while allowing for other FTOs to review and collaborate on these reports. This ensures that recruits experience consistent training without having to fill in the blanks on their own.

You know that your FTOs are some of the best your department has to offer. However, the complex nature of today’s policing environment, in addition to the workload strain resulting from fewer recruits, means investing in FTO software that frees your trainers to focus on turning recruits into outstanding public servants and spending less time dealing with paper.