If you have been relying on in-person police training, how do you actually add in online training? Follow these guidelines to help jumpstart online police training in your agency.
Identify the right training to move online
Before you convert any of your training to an online approach to save time and money, it helps to start with an inventory or review of your current situation. As mentioned earlier, not every training course is a good fit to be hosted online.
Look through your list of police training courses and determine which ones would be good candidates to offer online. Work together with your training staff to revisit your existing training materials.
A good rule of thumb – look for topics that could easily be taught in a lecture format. Again, these are typically topics that would be covered in a classroom and/or mandated by the municipality or state.
Worried about retention? With a good online police training solution like PowerDMS, you can create a bank of 50 questions from which the software pulls randomly and creates a 25-question test unique to each officer. These randomized tests limit cheating and allows the command staff to change and improve future training based on the responses.
Keep it simple
A word of caution: Don’t over-complicate your thinking about what online training needs to be. It can be as simple as you need it to be in order to be effective. You can include learning goals, training objectives, references, and whatever else you need to make the courses compliant with your state’s or county’s accreditation standards, statutes, or policies.
In some cases, for example, your online police training can be as simple as a PowerPoint presentation and an audio recording of the trainer providing a voice-over for all your slides. You don’t need a complex production team or video department to do that. You can simply tap into the suite of word-processing and presentation software that’s probably already on your computer.
Research shows that short, to-the-point training can be more effective than longer, full-day training. According to an article on Forbes, “Some companies derail their training programs by training their teams in painfully boring marathon sessions. The most effective training is done in short bites.”
So, keep the training direct and focused on a single topic, rather than trying to cover everything all at once. (This is part of the problem with all-day police training – it tries to do too much in one mega-session.)
Give your in-person training a boost
If you want your officers to show up for your in-person training prepared and ready to dig into the meat of your training, add in some pre-work via online training. This allows officers to review key points, policies, and even some of the tactical information before showing up to training day. This means that when they do arrive, you don’t waste their time (or yours) by covering some basics they could easily just read, watch, or listen to online at their convenience.
You can even add some pre-tests to your online police training to ensure officers understand the basic strategies and techniques before they step foot in the classroom. This helps officers focus on the content and increase the chance that they will retain the information.
Keep track of all your training in one system
If you are just starting to implement online training, don’t make the mistake of putting it on a shared drive or in a closed system that only tracks training completed in that particular police training software. In doing so, you will create silos of information, which can make proving completion difficult.
Instead, make sure you keep your online police training all within the same system. This makes it much easier to track, especially as you continue to add more online training modules down the road.
With PowerDMS, you can track all of your training from a single, secure solution. By including your training in with a robust policy management solution, you can corral all of your most important content in one location. It also makes including policies in with your training that much easier. Plus, you can assign policies and training courses to specific officers or groups with our easy-to-use automation tools, furthering your compliance efforts
Back to that Monroe County Sheriff’s Office story. Using PowerDMS for redundant training allowed the department to cut down on the man hours spent in training. Instead of spending 36 hours sitting in a classroom, deputies now spend just four hours in hands-on training, which saves Monroe County $87,000 each year in overtime costs. With an ROI like that, everyone wins.
With PowerDMS, it’s easier than ever to get started. More than 2,500 law enforcement agencies choose PowerDMS because we provide the tools to keep your officers safe and protect your agencies. In the process, you shave time and dollars off your training efforts while boosting engagement and retention.