Some might think an online training platform is intended to replace hands-on training. But that could not be further from the truth, TargetSolutions’ clients say. In fact, TargetSolutions’ web-based pre-training activities are designed to enhance offline training activities.

TargetSolutions allows departments to pre-load didactic education materials before personnel arrive at one of the agency’s designated training centers. The idea is for personnel to complete pre-training activities ahead of time, maximizing time spent in the field.

“We use TargetSolutions to allow our crews to review didactic course information before we do hands-on training,” said Brian Carlson, who is an assistant chief with the Burnsville Fire Department in Minn., which has been a client of TargetSolutions since October of 2011. “When (personnel) arrive at training, they know all the background information and we can jump right in.”

Michael Baker, who serves as the director of EMS for the Tulsa Fire Department, has seen increased efficiency in hands-on training when it is preceded by TargetSolutions’ online coursework.

“We ask our members to review an online TargetSolutions PowerPoint and video embedded presentation, and take a test afterward to prepare themselves for when they arrive at an in-service or a training event, to do the skills portion,” said Baker. “This has allowed us to take something that would normally be two hours long and condense it down into an hour.”

Eddie Buchanan, who previously served as president of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors, believes online training as a complement to hands-on training is the way of the future. After all, technology is going to continue evolving and improving the way education can be distributed to students, including those in the fire service.

“What used to be homework is now pre-work,” Buchanan said in an article for TargetSolutions. “Before the class session, a student can do pre-work at home, which is now the lecture, and the technology is the vehicle to get that information to them before they go to the classroom. Now, when the student physically shows up, they can focus on discussion or hands-on application of the new material.”