Behind the (virtual) wheel

     Emergency Vehicle Operations (EVO) are one of those activities that can bring harm to individual officers and risk to the general public. It is what we refer to as a "High-Frequency/High-Risk" activity. It's also widely known that more...


     Courses are designed to stand alone with minimal instructor participation. Students can keep track of their own progress through the course. Each course is divided into short lessons, and each lesson takes approximately 15-20 minutes, based a student's individual learning pace. Courses are accessed from a central server via the Internet.

     The course also includes a Learning Management System (LMS) to track and document progress. Training managers or supervisors have special access to the LMS and will be able to see reports organized by trainee name, and containing detailed information on each student's progress through the course. It shows when the student started and completed each portion of the course, as well as his or her scores.

AST

     Applied Simulation Technologies, which makes this course, has a level of expertise in the field far above most of its competitors. Founded in March 2003, AST is a virtual training technology company specializing in simulation-based training and related software. The company's approach involves full scale, interactive experiences in a simulated environment. AST develops and sells training software, applications packages and services to variety of clients including the commercial vehicle, law enforcement, homeland security, corporate and academic communities. Its emergency vehicle training program, EVOC-101, has been adopted by Utah as the standard for training its police officers.

     The company's expertise includes adapting technology for synthetic training; driving simulator training and research and development applications; systems integration; training environment scenario development; scenario traffic control; vehicle dynamics; tire and road modeling; and real-time implementation and student acceptance of synthetic driving environments.

     Although AST is a fairly new company, its personnel have been active in driving simulators since the mid-1980s. Founders and designers of the company have been researching and designing advanced simulator technology solutions for all types of high- to medium-performance vehicle simulators. This began by providing integration support on the Daimler-Benz driving simulator in Berlin, Germany. Additionally, they worked closely with Carnegie-Melon University, BMW, Toyota, Nissan, GM and Ford to identify hardware and software solutions for each of these companies' simulation application needs.

     AST personnel have successfully provided simulator training support to more than 200 law enforcement agencies and commercial training schools. Services included needs analysis, specifications, simulator sickness mitigation, transfer of training techniques, scenario development, driver measurement, behavior correction and financial analysis of simulator benefits.

     The course content for EVOC-101 Web is taken from the simulator version of AST's EVOC-101 course, which has three years of data with statistical analysis documenting transfer of training and driver behavior modification. That course was designed with extensive input and collaboration from EVO subject matter experts and instructional system designers. Additionally, an extensive review of state traffic laws, state and federal department policies, various EVO policies and case law ensure that the course content is correct and up to date. The courses offered by AST are compliant with standards and accreditation criteria promoted by FLETA, IADLEST, ALERT and several states' P.O.S.T criteria.

     AST's extensive work with EVO experts has helped it identify the skills and knowledge necessary for effective EVO driving. Through these contacts, they hope to understand the problem-solving thought process as drivers work their way through a hazard-filled intersection in an emergency response.

     All of this research is used to develop scenarios that closely duplicate actual driving conditions officers face on a daily basis. These scenarios and others are recorded and played back on the WBT as videos that the learners can use as models of expert driving.

Agency cost

     There is an initial one-time $299 fee, which covers the setup of the agency's learning management system (LMS) and data management. Through LMS the agency is able to track individual progress and set passing performance standards.

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