It is easy to look back and be critical of tactics, techniques, strategies, and teaching methodologies from the past.
The reality however, is that most of the time people were doing the best they could with the knowledge, information and experience they had. It was not that long ago that the Internet did not exist, not everyone had a laptop, tablet, and smartphone and all the information in the world was not immediately accessible with a device you carry in your pocket.
Today’s world is vastly different. You can easily access the research on how humans learn. If you do not like to read research papers then you can buy books like Make it Stick and How We Learn to learn about the research and books like Small Teaching and Powerful Teaching to get a better understanding of, and more ideas on how to apply the research to your training programs.
Through their own professional staff and through their collaboration with researchers around the world the Force Science Institute is working hard to merge the world of science and the world of law enforcement so we understand scientifically what we have known anecdotally about the realities of human performance in dynamic, tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving events. They are also working to help us understand the application of the research on learning to law enforcement training.
Organizations like ILEETA are working to create a community of trainers from all aspects of law enforcement who are all committed to raising the bar and continually improving the quality of training being delivered to law enforcement professionals. Through their conference, the ILEETA Journal, The ILEETA Learning Lab podcasts and the E-Bulletins ILEETA is striving to connect trainers, connect the dots of training and share information, research, training methodologies and ideas to serve the law enforcement profession.
There are some Academies doing a great job of rewriting their entire curriculum based on the research and focusing on delivering training designed to promote critical thinking and problem solving and enhance actual learning and retention of the information being taught. I am continually seeking out those people and interviewing them for The Excellence in Training Academy.
It is easy to look back and be critical of training from the past. What you need to do is look in the mirror, look at where you are right now, and ask yourself if you have learned from the past in order to enhance the present and invest in the future. Look at your professional development strategies and your current training programs and training practices. Are you studying, embracing and applying the research on learning to your programs, or are you stuck in the status quo and repeating less desirable strategies from the past. Look at the performance of your people in high fidelity training scenarios and in real world events. Are they performing at the highest levels.
As a community of trainers we need to reflect on the past, focus on the present and look to the future and ask what we can do now to better prepare our people for the increasingly complex world they live and function in. This means we need to be continually asking questions, studying, learning, applying, assessing, and striving to do things better than they have ever been done before. We need to think differently about how we design and deliver training and how we engage people in training. We need to focus on ensure people are learning and retaining the material we are teaching.
The people you are training today are the face of your agency and this profession and the future of your agency and this profession. They deserve the best training possible now, and into the future.
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