Innovate Your Training With a Learning Management System

Radio and television helped 20th century society take flight with mass communication tools capable of reaching millions. Since then, the internet has gone hypersonic with its impact on how we live, work, and play.

One distinct difference between radio, television, and the internet is the former two are primarily static, one-way communication devices. The internet is interactive and offers innovations and functionality earlier generations could only fantasize about. The internet influences how we access news, shop, bank, pay bills, attend classes, obtain training, listen to music, watch movies and television, and play games.

Likewise, e-commerce has made it possible for us to do all of the above without ever leaving our homes. Specifically, it has changed how we shop and interact with retailers, apply for loans and mortgages, and get paid. Now, modern training management systems give first responders more control over their training and compliance data, saving time and money for overburdened public safety departments.

Working From Home

During the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people have adapted to working from home, and that trend is likely to continue.

The idea of employees working from home was introduced to millions of people in Alvin Toffler’s 1970 bestseller, Future Shock. The book’s title originated from the idea that future generations would be shocked by “too much change in too short a period of time.” Sound familiar?

Fifty years ago, Toffler predicted a post-industrial society where every office employee would have a desktop computer, students of all ages would learn on school computers, and computing power would grow exponentially. He also predicted that more people than ever would work from home, which brings us to today.

Between the wide availability of internet access; the affordability of computers, tablets and smart phones; and scores of free or affordable user-friendly platforms; there has been no better time to take control of one’s personal and professional life than the present.

Consider the social media platforms LinkedIn and Facebook. These popular online tools allow us to create personal profiles, detailing everything from our work experience, credentials, and accomplishments, to our personal likes and hobbies. Millions of Americans use social media daily—some for fun, some for work, and many for both. According to the Pew Research Center, 72% of Americans were using social media in early 2019. That’s up from 47% ten years earlier.

These platforms allow members to post updates, send direct messages to friends and followers, and share family photos and memorable moments—whenever they want. In short, users are in control of what they post, when they post, and who can see it. They can also look for jobs, homes, and cars with much less need for an agent to facilitate their efforts.

No More Middleman                                          

Just as there are scores of different types of automobiles and trucks on the nation’s highways, there are hundreds of unique vehicles on the Information Superhighway created to satisfy varying needs and preferences. There are fun vehicles (Twitter, Facebook), business-oriented professional sites (LinkedIn, Indeed), photo-driven sites (Instagram, Pinterest), and many more.

There are also web portals for specific occupations and industries. These portals provide access to a wide variety of information, depending on whether it’s a public-access portal, such as a news source, or a customized portal developed for a specific purpose.

Millions of students learned the value of such a portal system when their schools were closed in March amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of schools used various educational portals to finish the school year, with access available to everyone from teachers and administrators to students and their parents.

Using an educational portal, teachers were able to deliver content remotely, take student attendance, upload and grade homework, plan assignments, and report grades for quizzes and exams. For their part, students could check their attendance for each class, do homework assignments, ask questions of their teachers, keep up with school news, access their grades, and submit coursework.

But education isn’t the only group benefiting from the freedom and potential the internet offers during the COVID crisis. In the past few months, the entire fabric of the medical community has been stretched at the seams as it works to prevent spread of the virus. At the same time, patients needing help have been reluctant to venture from their homes. This has created a spike in the use of telemedicine as doctors and nurses communicate remotely with patients, diagnosing ailments and prescribing treatments in real time.

Various medical portals have helped save time and effort while also protecting patients’ personally identifiable information (PII) and getting patients the testing and treatment they need. For example, many medical portals allow patients to access test results, CT scans, X-rays and other information. Medical portals also help facilitate blood transfusions and organ transplants by making it easier for hospitals to coordinate with the necessary governmental authorities. The same goes for hospitals reporting births and deaths to government agencies, as well as reporting treatment of crime victims and criminal perpetrators.

How First Responders Can Take Control of their Data

Working from home isn’t an option for many first responders, but with Envisage’s Acadis® and FirstForward® programs, training from home can be an extremely feasible option with a secondary benefit of giving employees and supervisors more control over their data and eliminate the middleman.

Acadis allows training coordinators and instructors to upload student training data and instructions. It also grants students access to that data at their convenience, as well as allowing them to complete coursework and take quizzes and exams. Even better, both Acadis and FirstForward eliminate the need for supervisors to monitor a student’s coursework in real time because the platform automatically records a student’s progress and the completion of their work.

With Acadis, if a course issues a grade or certification, this automatically displays on the individual’s training record. If a student has taken training outside Acadis (e.g., in-house or on-the-job training) as a matter of record, they can manually enter that information once permission has been granted by the program’s administrators.

The convenience of all this functionality is that it records all the training information in one place with no supervisor or third-party data entry needed. What’s more, the data can be seamlessly shared with supervisors or other agencies.

Turn Months Into Minutes

Former Indiana Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) Executive Director Rusty Goodpaster was an early proponent of an Envisage solution to the challenges he faced more than a decade ago. In addition to managing the academy’s training programs and processes, Goodpaster managed operational budgeting and training mandates for nearly 600 departments and 13,000 officers statewide. He was also expected to maintain contact with police chiefs and 92 county sheriffs.

According to Indiana State Police’s annual report, ILEA processed more than 14,000 training records in 2008. It took four ILEA full-time employees a minimum of four months to sort through the thousands of officer records, verify each officer’s completed training hours against the state requirements, and enter the data into their legacy system.

A thorough analytic evaluation with Envisage revealed that what ILEA needed was a secure system that tracked every officer’s lifetime learning record, from basic training to annual in-service courses—including their test scores.

The solution Envisage delivered in 2010 accomplished this and more. The Acadis Training Management System and Registration modules helped ILEA create coursework and publish it to the Acadis Online Registration Portal. In turn, the portal allowed ILEA personnel to view scheduled classes, manage officer registration, display in-service training events, and view officer training history for compliance status and recertification.

Acadis saved the academy valuable time, allowing the training staff to focus on such tasks as investigative reporting and revoking licenses for officers who failed to meet ILEA’s stringent training standards. The reduced time spent on processing paperwork meant the Indiana State Police could dedicate more energy to major priorities such as bomb threats, and to working with Homeland Security on terrorist threats and other matters of national security.

Continuing Innovation in Data Management

Much has changed in policing and law enforcement from a decade ago, but ILEA and numerous other hardworking law enforcement agencies, along with many military and public safety organizations, have partnered with Envisage to save time and money with innovative technology solutions.

In Utah, costs have been reduced by cutting law enforcement agencies’ paperwork volume, while providing easy-to-use tools to securely report training, in a consistent format, online. By providing a secure, web-based reporting vehicle, Acadis greatly reduced redundant data entry and the high costs associated with creating, mailing, and storage of paper-based records. The Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Academy (POST) estimates that a process that historically required approximately 2,200 person hours to complete is now reduced to less than one hour.

In 2020, as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, and as law enforcement standards and reporting requirements face greater scrutiny, Envisage stands ready to do its part, working with public safety groups to provide innovative technology training and certification solutions for today’s changing needs.

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