Train Your Brain: but in this case, do it as your schedule permits, using your own computer with the ability to interrupt it any time you need to. The Backup Training Corporation makes CDs available that support training delivery in virtually any environment where an officer has access to a computer and the Internet. Got some down time on a midnight shift? Working the desk this evening? Leverage your available time by "attending" training while you're stuck in front of that computer. The variety of training topics is pretty substantial and the delivery is structured to prompt (in fact demand) interaction from the officer being trained.
The best way I can describe the training available on these CDs is "virtual classroom". In my experience testing and using them, each program is hosted by an individual with the knowledge, training and experience (recognize those words from some other training someplace?) to substantiate a high level of expertise about the topic being covered.
Now we all know that there's nothing as boring as sitting for two, four or eight hours in the same classroom listening to the same instructor lecture about the same topic ad nauseum. We find ourselves either blinking REALLY LONG (read: taking naps), or head bobbing, or thinking wonderful thoughts about that cold beer on the lounge with the attractive lady next to us. To prevent such distractions from interupting our attention the methods of instruction have to be mixed up. There have to be:
- Questions from the instructor that spur us to think about the material and provide answers
- Independent study periods
- Lecture using real life examples
The Backup training material includes all of that. The instructor / host is introduced; background provided; and "class" begun. Because most entities which "certify" law enforcement training require a minimum amount of time attended to receive credit, the Backup software is specifically designed to track how much time is spent by the student. In other words, you can't just zip through screens, skipping through material, and then hope to pass the test with an acceptable minimum score. Even if you pass the test you don't get credit for the training because you didn't spend enough time actually learning and studying the material.
So the class begins. A lecture is followed by some material you might have to read, or a video you need to watch. Such learning is repeated and inter-mixed until you get to a quiz. The quiz covers that portion of the material you've covered so far and your answers / score for the quiz is recorded in the files that will ultimately be transmitted to the Backup Corporation if you want to receive credit. Then the instructor comes back, redirects the training with the introduction of a new block of instruction, and off you go again into reading, watching and answering questions. The only thing really missing is the ability to raise your hand to ask a question. The up side of that is that the learning time is managed efficiently and the instruction doesn't get derailed by questions not applicable to the topic at hand. (we've all had that happen)
If you only have two hours to start on an eight-hour program, that's okay. The software tracks how much time you spent and how far along you got. When you come back and sign in it will return you to where you were. The bottom line is that eight hours of training actually takes eight hours but the time can be broken up however is necessary to suit your schedule. Some of the programs are as short as two hours while others are eight or more. Want to do more with your lunch break? Eat while you train.
When you finish the program and send in the information to the Backup Corporation they have everything they need to provide certification to your agency for YOU having completed that training. You can even get a certificate to build that already fat file you have.
Let me ask you this: the last time you attended a one-day program on, say, drug interdiction delivered by a commercial entity, what was the cost? $150? $250? $395? I've seen "seminars" and classes offered that were one or two days long that had costs as high as $495 per person. In most cases there was also a travel expense, housing, food, etc. What would it be worth to you - as you consider all that - to sit at your own station or home and get trained? Heck, you're SAVING all that travel, housing and food money... you could easily pay even more, right? A typical Backup CD costs $15. You read that right: $15. If your agency purchases that ONE CD it can be used to train as many officers as you want to line up. The downside is that they can only take the class one at a time. The upside is that it only costs you $15 per man. When you send the information to The Backup Corporation and then need them to provide you proof of completion / certification, there is another small fee ($10 I believe).
As I type this they are working on a law enforcement specific series of training CDs that are high level courses which have been completely rebuilt using real world examples to support the material. Such training on the commercial market is good for $700+ across two or three days. The Backup Corporation anticipates having those programs available for $50 per CD. The first one slated for release is the Tactical Lifesaver program and the cost includes a "Tactical Lifesaver Kit" (blow out kit). Heck, a blow out kit alone will cost you at least $25 these days. Editor's Note: On 8/28/2008 I heard from The Backup Corporation and they are NOT currently selling the blow out kit WITH the training course. Pricing hasn't been finalized. Further updates are pending.
The training is valid. The training is valuable. The training is convenient. The training is cost effective. What else could you ask for? They currently have 32 programs listed in their online catalog ranging from Gang Training to Cultural Diversity to Clandestine Meth Labs to Weapon Retention.
Check them out. I think you'll like them!