The purpose of the Virtual Training Component is to find faster, better, and less expensive ways of delivering information that keeps students engaged in the learning process.
The core of the Virtual Training Component coordinates a variety of technologies, including video game systems, online communities such as the Controlled F.O.R.C.E. SL TrainingCenter on Second Life and the Controlled F.O.R.C.E. Network, video communication tools, and the U.S.N.S.T.A. Training Resource Center.
The Virtual Training Component offers the user a variety of capabilities including: Meeting Spaces forconferencing and table top exercises; Training Methods for groundwork development and maintaining perishable skills; Support Elements for content management and student assistance; and Evaluation Tools for live distance monitoring and testing and assessment.
Due to travel costs and schedule conflicts, top level Controlled F.O.R.C.E. Instructors traditionally have only been able to meet all in one place to discuss training issues once a year at the annual U.S.N.S.T.A. TacticalTraining Seminar. Second Life provides a meeting space for Conferencing and Table Top Exercises where people can attend from any location with internet access. Now, Controlled F.O.R.C.E. Instructors can meet at the Controlled F.O.R.C.E.SL Training Center no matter where they are in the world and discuss the latest trends and problems faced byfirst responders.
The largest expense in the cost breakdown of training is travel. With the Virtual Training Component, Controlled F.O.R.C.E. Instructors can deliver Groundwork Development content from remote locations. By harnessing the power of internet video communication technology, Controlled F.O.R.C.E. can give students thebenefit of learning from multiple instructors and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) with only the cost of one onsite instructor, or potentially even no on-site instructors.
Furthermore, if a student in class has a question about a subject that requires the attention of a SME, the instructor can instantly place a video call to the training office and the student's question is addressed in real time. The student can engage the SME with follow up questions and the SME can gauge the student’s reaction to responses for more efficient instruction. Nothing is lost in interpretation, and no time is wasted.
The Virtual Training Component of Controlled F.O.R.C.E. ties together a variety of elements designed to provide the student with prolonged support and continued learning opportunities. Since users have varying levels of computer access and proficiency, Controlled F.O.R.C.E. provides guides who are trained to assist users in finding the information they need. These guides, such as C FORCE US ABBY pictured below, can help users look up content on the U.S.N.S.T.A. Training Resource Center, get information in the Controlled F.O.R.C.E. SL Training Center, interact with other users on the Controlled F.O.R.C.E. Network, or utilize other resources available online. Controlled F.O.R.C.E. Support Associate C FORCE US ABBY is ready to help students find theinformation and resources they need, and keep them engaged in the processThe unique benefit of the Controlled F.O.R.C.E. SL Training Center is that the user and the guides operate avatars to interact with each other. Not only can you see C FORCE US ABBY as an avatar on the screen, but she can see you, or any audience, live via built in camera systems. The use of avatars is important because it helps the student remain engaged during the information gathering / knowledge building process. Users can interact directly with C FORCE US ABBY, who represents an actual Controlled F.O.R.C.E. Support Associate named Abby, instead of just speaking with an anonymous “voice” at the other end of a telephone line.
Long term sustainment is a crucial factor of any training program. Not only can sustainment be costly as far as necessary re-certification fees, but failure to sustain a program once it is in place can have damaging liability consequences, not to mention being a total waste of the initial investment into a program.
The two most constricting factors of a training program are time and money. Since the first U.S.N.S.T.A. Conference 12 years ago, Controlled F.O.R.C.E. has been studying and improving ways to reduce the amount of time and cost of delivering information necessary to the development of our nation’s first responders. The latest video game and internet technology allows us to do this more effectively than any delivery method we have researched so far. The Controlled F.O.R.C.E. Virtual Training Component offers:
- Ease of Access (Second Life and Controlled F.O.R.C.E. Network are free to join)
- Ease of Use (Support Team is standing by to assist with any issues)
- Reduced Travel (minimizes or eliminates travel costs of students and instructors)
- Maximized Training Time (live training with instructor can focus on hands-on critical lessons)
- Maximized Student Involvement (increases enthusiasm and connection to content)
- Return on Investment - ROI (multiplies training dollar value – “more bang for your buck”)
Administrators are looking for ways to move their organizations forward while maintaining current expense levels. Virtual training can drive the ROI on all staff development needed to support operations. Rather thanspending time and money on travel and days off for training, virtualization allows you to take full advantage of time allotted for training. Virtual training touches all parts of the staff development process: conferencing, training, interaction with SMEs, support resources, testing and assessment, and quality control.Imagine if the U.S.N.S.T.A. Tactical Training Seminar in Las Vegaswas accessible online to every First Responder in the nation.