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1 May 2020

Just-In-Time Learning: Helping apprentice firefighters avoid the ultimate baptism of fire

Matthew O'Connor

Matthew O'Connor

Marketing Manager

How Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) is delivering just-in-time learning to develop its firefighters.

Apprentice firefighters at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) are using the e-learning platform we created and just-in-time learning to prepare themselves for some daunting physical training.

Just-in-time learning is an approach that revolves around ensuring learners have access to the information they need precisely when and how they need to get it.


Building competence in dangerous work

When new full-time firefighters join the service, they have no knowledge of the practicalities of firefighting. It’s all new to them, so they enrol on a two-year programme to take them from total novices to fully competent firefighters.

It sounds quite easy when you put it like that, doesn’t it? But take a moment to think about some of things you need to be able to do in order to become a “fully competent firefighter”. You need to be able to run into a burning building for starters. You’ll need to know how to get people with serious injuries out of road traffic collisions. And you’ll need to climb ladders to dizzying heights at high speed. Those are just a few examples.

Now imagine the first time you encounter any of those situations. Pretty daunting, right?

Well, the Totara Learn e-learning platform we developed for NFRS is being used to provide extra support and ease apprentice firefighters into these difficult physical training exercises.


Videos prior to physical training for just-in-time learning

NFRS is using a just-in-time learning approach: sharing instructional videos on how to perform each task shortly before they embark on physical training for the first time.

Apprentices benefit from soaking up the information and theory they need at their own pace at a location that suits them. Compared to sitting in a classroom knowing the activity in question awaits outside or even standing at the foot of a ladder attempting to get all the information you need from an instructor, you can see how the e-learning approach results in calmer, better educated apprentices reporting for physical training activities.

And because each video is only released by the training team directly before the activity to which it relates, each task — and the entire process of becoming a fully competent firefighter — is broken down into easily digestible chunks.

Steve Wass, from NFRS’s eLearning team, said:

“Apprentices are given just-in-time learning. So, they’ll get a video on how to run a hose reel or how to climb a ladder just ahead of physical training.

Each new thing they learn opens up a new element of their training programme. We can track their progress and test their knowledge to ensure they are gradually building their knowledge base and understanding the theory that they need to take into each physical training element.”

Learn more about Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service’s e-learning programme.



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