A Virtual Success: ISC Delivers Remote G205 Training for Sacramento County, CA
A significant byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the impact, interruption, and delay to the delivery of essential emergency preparedness activities, such as training and exercise. Since the shutdowns began in March of 2020, emergency managers and first responders nationwide have been forced to re-think and re-examine how to safely continue essential preparedness activities. A common solution to this issue has been to adapt the format of training courses from in-person, face-to-face courses, to virtual and remote deliveries.
Based on our long history of developing and providing Computer-Based Training (CBTs), Integrated Solutions Consulting (ISC) is at the forefront of providing remote and virtual training solutions. Recently, ISC provided a virtual delivery of the G205 (Disaster Recovery) course in support of the Sacramento County, CA, Office of Emergency Services (OES). The County, responding to COVID-19, had a need to orient personnel to both the process of Disaster Recovery, as well as to the recently updated County Recovery Annex/Plan, which ISC had begun developing in fall 2019.
There were several challenges that ISC planners and instructors overcame in adapting the existing G205 course curriculum for a virtual delivery. First was identifying elements of the existing course curriculum that required adaption for virtual delivery. These included presentation materials, audio/visuals, and participant handouts. ISC planners and instructors went unit-by-unit, reviewing the course curriculum and materials and measuring each element’s utility and efficacy in meeting the course objectives in the virtual training environment. ISC utilizes the Instructional Systems Design (ISD) ADDIE Model in the design and development of all our training offerings. Because of our experience building CBTs and virtual training, ISC understood how to apply this model to the G205 course effectively and efficiently.
A separate Course Design Document (CDD) was developed for the virtual training. This follows the ISD ADDIE model and provided a roadmap for adapting the materials to best meet the requirements in a virtual environment.
An additional component of this curriculum review included identifying opportunities within the existing curriculum to incorporate elements, processes, and frameworks from the newly developed County Recovery Annex. This was a critical part of the initial assessment, as it set the stage for customizing the overall curriculum and helping to ensure a tailored training. Once the necessary curriculum elements were identified and areas for customization determined, ISC course planners and instructors adapted the materials for the virtual delivery. This included formatting the course presentation, building and incorporating materials to cover the key components from the County plan, and setting the preliminary timing/timetable for each module. Again, utilizing the ISD ADDIE model, ISC course coordinators and instructors included the unique process associated with building virtual training. They integrated the course materials into the identified delivery/host environment, in this case GoToWebinar, in order to ensure all materials retained the format, look, utility, and functioned as expected. The development and adaptation of the course materials included multiple accessibility checks and processes (i.e., offline availability, cloud-based document repositories, dedicated technical support, etc.) to ensure all participants had access to all instructional elements materials easily and without additional assistance.
Course materials included clickable references.
An additional challenge to overcome in delivering the remote training was the reworking of the multi-day course curriculum into a condensed format. While the course was delivered over a multi-day period, local requirements were that the course be expanded, to be delivered multiple days a week, over three weeks. This requirement had the potential to impact the timing and cadence of the instruction, as well as increasing the likelihood of a drop in participation over the multi-week period.
To overcome these challenges, ISC course coordinators worked closely with the instructors, participants, and the course sponsor to establish a process of regular contact. Updates, rosters, and pre-reading was distributed bi-weekly and ISC course coordinators established themselves as the “technical support” for the course, taking questions by email or through chat functions, ensuring response times were low. This not only kept participants engaged, it freed the ISC instructors to focus solely on the curriculum, content, and instruction, which maintained the cadence and timing of the course across all days/weeks.
A benefit to the virtual delivery of the course was the ability to record the instruction and make the recordings available to those participants who were unable to attend the live deliveries of each module of the course. Moreover, it was found that having recordings of the instruction, module-by-module, also provided participants the option of returning to course content and instruction, as needed, for refreshers and/or to further explore course topics.
An example from the Course Presentation.
Ultimately, the virtual course was successful because the delivery was thoughtfully considered and ISC has extensive experience with CBT’s. Accepted training and adult-learning design and development methods, concepts, and systems were utilized and our experience delivering virtual training allowed us to deliver the G205 course without any significant technical issues and maintained a 90% participation rate over a three week period. For more information on how ISC can help your agency or jurisdiction continue to train in a virtual environment, or for information on our extensive library of available CBTs, click the button below to get in touch with an ISC team member.