By:  Justin Crowther ENP, CMCP

       Executive Director of Jefferson County Emergency Communications District - 911

When it comes to training, with Virtual Academy I think I’ve found the best of both worlds.

 There’s no replacement for training face-to-face in a classroom with instant feedback, breakout sessions, hands-on learning, and lively class discussions.

Then there's virtual training, which allows for convenience and affordability as well as stop and start sessions based on schedule confines. And in the time of COVID, it is sometimes the only option.

Now if you could combine those into a hybrid model, I think you have the best of both worlds. Turns out, we had this at our fingertips with Virtual Academy. We’ve used Virtual Academy for online training in our comms center, and it’s been a great benefit to us. It works with our dispatchers’ schedules, and it’s remarkably effective and cost-effective on top of that.

Recently I wanted to do some face-to-face training, but obviously during this time there are not outside training options that make sense due to COVID. I also didn’t have time to create my own course, even though I could through Virtual Academy’s platform. I just didn’t have the time to source materials, add scenarios, create tests and answer banks, and then grade those tests. But with a VA course, I could do all this, so I decided to combine face-to-face training, facilitated by me, with the great courses already developed by industry leaders.

I used the TCPR course and paired it with break-out sessions and lively discussions. We even did a hands-on simulation that everyone particularly enjoyed and gave valuable insight. Then everyone was able to take their test online. The system graded the tests for me, and all the certificates were available to download or print within the system.

Working in 9-1-1 means being adaptable and adjusting quickly to evolving needs, and I know the better trained our team is, the better their performance and confidence. Being able to facilitate training in new and effective ways, personalized in a classroom with online time-saving resources, really is the best of both worlds.