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Emergency Training Systems Survey 

Contact : LearningTech@fas.org
Last modified : August 11, 2005 2:59 PM

No one knows how much of the $6 to $8 billion spent on emergency preparedness since 9-11 has gone for training of first responders. William O. Jenkins of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says this is because the largest grants "can generally be used for planning, equipment purchases, training, and exercises, at the discretion of the grant recipient."

For instance just 14 out of 198 federal terrorism training courses use Computer Based Training (CBT) or what the Learning Federation calls Technology Enabled Learning Systems (TELS).* From many hundreds of additional training products located in an initial search, we analyzed 54 for who funds them, who purchases them, the emergency responder groups targeted, and the training product's features.

Emergency
New York City firefighters and U.S. Marines practicing in a live exercise at the Fire Academy on Randall's Island, New York Oct. 24, 2003. The number of practice exercises available on CD-ROM and over the Internet is growing. (Photo: Ed Bailey / AP)

We conclude that the quality of many government-funded training products is unknown, saying:

"DHS has not communicated a clear plan for quality control of the training material or ensuring that material is continuously up-to-date. There is no coherent program for managing the development, certification, and distribution of training materials in place today....Given the importance of ensuring well-trained first responders, DHS should include learning science and technology R&D as a critical component of its S&T portfolio."

Read the entire survey here:  Training Systems

* TELS encompasses a wider range of digital learning activities than Computer-Based Training (CBT), from slide shows, such as PowerPoint presentations delivered on CD-Rom or via the Internet, to learning systems that incorporate advanced computer technologies such as virtual reality and intelligent tutors.