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...


     In addition to the setup fee, the cost for the course is $49 per student, which covers 12 months of access to the training course. Access is unlimited, so the course may be taken numerous times during the year as appropriate. The course must be completed in its entirety before it may be taken again.

Testing the course

     In preparing this product review, AST arranged for two test subjects to take a course. In order to form a fair evaluation, the two test subjects had differing levels of experience.

     I served as one of the subjects. I am a 46-year-old male, and have been a deputy sheriff for 20 years. I have limited computer expertise and do not play video games. I also have a strong background in training and adult learning concepts.

     The other test subject was a 24-year-old female officer with a year-and-a-half on the job. She has extensive computer experience, including formal training on use of computers and various programs. She has also taken numerous Web-based training courses in the past.

     The course we tested was titled "Intersection Analysis." The objective of this course was to educate the student on how to properly negotiate intersections during an emergency response. Below are the topics covered:

  • Intersection Approach
  • Intersection Assessment
  • Clearing the Intersection: Basics
  • Clearing the Intersection: Advanced Skills
  • Intersection Departure & Course Summary

     We both found the course easy to use. Once users sign on, the course is laid out so needed information is easily accessed It also loaded quickly onto my computer so there was no wasted time. Each screen has easy-to-follow instructions. The female test subject said it was the most complete, well-laid-out and easy-to-use Web course she has ever taken.

     The graphics are detailed and realistic. Each portion of the course starts with an overview stating what students will learn and what they should know when completed. During the course, periodic quizzes test information retention. Students must successfully pass the quiz before they can move to the next section of the course.

     Throughout the course there is a drop-down menu on the left side of the screen with several functions. It shows each topic in the current section so the student can track his or her progress. It also has buttons that can be used by the agency to add additional material for the student. One button, marked "Policy," is available for agencies to post their local policy regarding emergency vehicle operations, making it available to users at the click of a button.

     There is also an extras feature under which the agency can post additional information such as current news articles, short video clips, surveys or humor that relate to the lesson. These features allow agencies to get the most out of this type of training platform.

     Most importantly, the information is valid and relevant. Overall, this course is well designed and valuable. It provides good training at minimal cost in a manner that makes good use of resources.

     John Marrs has been a deputy with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department in California since 1988. He can be reached at m20_marrsj@yahoo.com

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