When I was younger most boys in my class wanted to become a firefighter when they grew up. One of them actually works as a firefighter now, the rest probably chose for a safer profession. I think working as a firefighter takes a lot of guts, because you will be put in situations most people happily avoid. That’s why it’s so important to provide firefighters with materials that help them do their work the best way possible. Fire-learning thought that the way firefighters were being educated could use an update and decided to create online courses for them. I sat down and had a chat with Anne Boreel, content creator at Fire-learning, about their choice for and experience with aNewSpring.

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

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. Plus they really have that ‘get to work’ mentality, studying from a book isn’t really their cup of tea. But, to train firefighters they first need to learn the theory, and only after that they can put this into practice during a communal practice day. We noticed that most of the firefighters came to these days unprepared, which resulted in a lot of time spent during that costly day explaining them the theory. Not really an ideal situation. But 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

The men of Fire-learning are very close involved in the fire brigade, so they understood why firefighters often didn’t study their theory. It was offered to them the wrong way! That’s why they wanted to develop a modern and online product that could help firefighters control 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 of all existing and new rules to practice their profession the best way possible. They made the choice for aNewSpring, and chose to also use MemoTrainer for knowledge retention training. With the MemoTrainer we can make sure the firefighters don’t just forget the important theory. On top of that it is of course great that aNewSpring offers us a central and user friendly environment to develop our courses.”

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Data per person, corps or region easily accessible

“You can imagine that sometimes mistakes are made when working at the fire brigade. When this happens there is a chance the firefighters have to justify in court. That’s why we also wanted to make sure that the fire department can show what knowledge they had at the moment of the mistake. In aNewSpring this is very easy to do. We can not only see how a certain person scores, but also a whole corps, region or post and respond to that.”

Recognize the theory and put it to practice

When I ask for the learner response Anne tells me leaners are very positive. Costs and time that is saved and user friendliness are praised. “Especially during the practice days we notice a great difference. Before we had to take a lot of time to explain the theory, but now the firefighters can start immediately with the practice training. They even recognize situations from our video’s and point them out to each other! Everything runs much smoother now.”

“Plus, I think it’s nice and easy to work with the platform. And when I have a question or problem the Support Team is there for me. There is always someone ready to help you.” – Anne Boreel

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 offer firefighters training this way. At this moment around 5000 firefighters use their courses, but they are striving for a number 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 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.”

Website fire-learning

Inspired by the story of Fire-learning? Then do download our free Blended Learning Cookbook. The metaphor of the cookbook will give you a fresh perspective on choosing, combining and testing different learning ingredients in order to create your ultimate learning recipe!

Fire-learning uses
  • The aNewSpring MemoTrainer for retention training
  • Blended, Social and Game Based learning
  • Vimeo for video
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