Fire-learning: the fire and theory under control

When I was younger, most boys in my class wanted to become firefighters when they grew up. One of them actually works as a firefighter now; the rest probably chose a safer profession. I believe that working as a firefighter takes a lot of guts because you are put into situations most people happily avoid. That’s why it’s so important to provide firefighters with materials that help them do their work in the best way possible.

Fire-learning thought that the way firefighters were being educated could use an update. They decided to create online courses for firefighters using the aNewSpring learning platform. I sat down and had a chat with Anne Boreel, content creator at Fire-learning, about their choice of and experience with aNewSpring.

Training Provider
Fire-learning

Project
Blended Learning

Blended learning by Fire-learning

The challenge: A heterogeneous group that needs to stay up to date

“The group of firefighters we have in the Netherlands is very heterogeneous; they all have different knowledge levels. In addition, they really have that ‘get-to-work’ mentality and studying from a book isn’t their cup of tea. But, to train firefighters, they first need to learn the theory, and only after that can they put their knowledge into practice during a scheduled practice day.

We noticed that most firefighters came to these days unprepared, which resulted in a lot of time spent on explaining the theory to them. Since a practice day is quite expensive to organise, this is not really an ideal situation. However, training firefighters in a good way and keeping them up to date is very important. That’s why Theo and Flinn Deen started Fire-learning in 2011”.

Important information isn’t easily forgotten

Both Theo and Flinn are very close involved with the fire brigade, so they understood why firefighters often don’t study their theory. It’s offered to them in the wrong way! That’s why they wanted to develop a modern and online training product that could help firefighters obtain the theory in an easy and efficiënt way.

“Theo and Flinn also found it very important that the learning materials could be repeated”, says Anne. “The firefighters do have to be up to date with all existing and new rules to do their job in the best way possible. They chose to use aNewSpring, and also chose to use MemoTrainer for knowledge retention training. “With the MemoTrainer, we can make sure the firefighters don’t just forget the important theory. Also, it’s great that aNewSpring offers us a central and user-friendly environment to develop our courses”.

Data per person, corps or region is easily accessible

“You can imagine that sometimes mistakes are made when working at the fire brigade. When this happens, there is even a chance the firefighters have to defend themselves in court. That’s why we wanted to make sure that the fire department has insight into the competence level of each person at the moment of a mistake. In aNewSpring, this is very easy to do. We can see how a certain person scores and we can also see how an entire corps or region scores and respond to that”.

Improved user experience and a shorter time to competence

When I ask participants for their opinion of the training, Anne tells me leaners are very positive. Time and cost savings, as well as user experience, are praised. “Especially during the practice days, we notice a great difference. Before we had online training, we had to spend a lot of time to explain the theory. But now, the firefighters can start immediately with the actual practice trainings. They even recognise situations from our training videos and point them out to each other! Everything runs much smoother now”.

“I think it’s nice and easy to work with the platform.
There is always someone ready to help you”
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Anne Boreel
Content Creator
Fire-learning

The only one in the country

Fire-learning is in an ideal situation at the moment because they are the only one in Europe that offers firefighters training in this way. At this moment, around 5,000 firefighters use their courses, but they are striving for a total of 100,000 users by spreading their courses nationally or, potentially, international. They’re also thinking of expanding their course offer. “We are thinking about adding more specific courses like wild fire training or how to use certain advanced materials. There are always new things that influence the work of firefighters, so our courses will keep changing and evolving as well”.

Firelearning uses:

  • Blended Learning
  • Social en Mobile Learning
  • MemoTrainer™ as retention  tool
  • Conditional learning activities
  • Certificates of participation
  • Hand-in assignments
  • Videohosting
  • Catalogue 

How to design blended learning?

Today, many more learning interventions and approaches exist, and creating ‘the right mix’ of interventions leads to blended learning. Read more about blended learning and how to design such a programme.

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