Georgia Public Safety Training Center
Because ever-changing threats require an educated public safety community, public safety personnel are required to attend training on an annual basis. Traditional classroom-based training puts stress on an agency’s budget and personnel. As budgets and personnel shrink, many agencies are turning to online training as a viable alternative. However, most online learning management solutions (LMS) are designed for semester-long classes. Public safety agencies need an LMS that allows them to receive condensed blocks of instruction from anywhere and at any time.
In response to that need, the Georgia Public Safety Training Center (GPSTC) developed an LMS to achieve the following goals:
- Enhance the online delivery of public safety training
- Enable other state agencies to use its LMS to host their own unique online training, manage enrollment, and create additional course offerings
Since other public safety agencies had similar training requirements and resource challenges, the GPSTC opened its system to host online training for other public safety agencies in Georgia. The hosting model has allowed for the configuration and deployment of customized online instruction for the Department of Public Health’s Office of EMS and Trauma, the Department of Corrections, and the Department of Community Supervision.
Short blocks of instruction and independent online training can be delivered to students from a fully responsive, HTML5-compliant LMS. The solution was developed internally at the GPSTC with Java Servlet, various frameworks, application program interfaces for other systems, and an industry standard database. The LMS guides students through their courses and ensures that they complete each step along the way. For more interactive blocks of instruction, the GPSTC integrated its solution with a popular open-source LMS product that allows for student discussion, submission of assignments, quizzes, and detailed student activity reporting.
Students log in through a secure portal to attend any number of online training sessions. Agency administrators can track the progress of their students and manage their own online course content and offerings. After a student completes a required block of instruction, proof of training is uploaded to other state agency systems for purposes of regulatory reporting, and public safety personnel are not required to provide additional proof of training to meet annual requirements. The LMS’ various integration points ensure that support staff are not burdened with maintaining data between various systems. Since authentication and grade reporting are linked to the GPSTC’s Student Registration System, user data are automatically synchronized between various systems during student enrollment and course completion.
In calendar year 2015, GPSTC trained 16,562 students from 1,357 agencies, which includes many local police and fire departments. Those students successfully completed 78,536 online courses.