New features for improved firefighter training
Fire Safety Academy rolls out new features for improved firefighter training

Have you ever wished an online course were shorter so you could start it at work without being interrupted by a call? Have you ever been teaching a group of students and wished you could incorporate firefighter training videos into your lessons?

This January, the Fire Safety Academy (FSA), the premier learning platform at the Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI), part of UL Research Institutes, rolled out new features to allow firefighters and training officers to do exactly that. These features are part of a batch of updates designed to better meet the learning needs of firefighters, regardless of position or experience. 

New features tailored to students and training officers

The new features in the FSA 2.0 bring enhanced functionality to the platform and include a range of benefits for both firefighter students and instructors. As students search for lessons, they will receive personalized course recommendations based on their rank and learning journeys. All courses will continue to be based on the latest science and professional standards but are now broken down into quick, bite-sized lessons to allow for learning anytime, anywhere. Existing courses were also retrofitted to align with the new structure and functionality. During the course, students can use streamlined navigation links to jump to specific content, and certificates are issued following successful course completions.

There is also a range of robust tools for training officers. For example, training officers can use the provided curriculum and learning materials to conduct in-person training sessions for groups of firefighter students. They can integrate the FSA with other learning platforms, allowing firefighters to conveniently track their learning in a central location. Comprehensive dashboards also give training officers a snapshot of their department; they can use them to manage their teams, track students’ achievements, view key metrics, and benchmark their department’s performance.

You asked, we listened

Prior to rolling out these new features, FSRI embarked on a thorough consultation process, an effort led by Angela Bennett, Manager of Education and Training. Bennett liaised with the fire service and the Training Advisory Committee to gain insight into the features that would better cater to the evolving needs of firefighters. Diligently gathering feedback and noting the preferences and priorities expressed by the fire service, Bennett identified key improvements for the system upgrade.

She also evaluated the existing platform, drawing from her years of experience in curating engaging digital learning experiences. Bennett’s analysis focused on pinpointing the features that would both augment the user experience and significantly enhance and streamline firefighters' learning journeys. 

In a seamless synergy between the insights drawn from the fire service and the expertise of the instructional design team, FSRI began identifying and prioritizing potential features. The organization scrutinized each feature against a backdrop of user value, platform functionality, and educational enhancement. It identified the priority features and laid out a roadmap for the implementation of the features into the FSA 2.0, ensuring that the enhancements would seamlessly integrate with the current platform. 

“The latest additions to the FSA not only improve the learning experience but also help users stay on track and see measurable progress over time. We’ve woven highly sought-after features into every page, making this update a real game-changer for the field,” said Bennett.

This convergence of user feedback, instructional design acumen, and technological innovation stands as a testament to FSRI’s commitment to excellence in firefighter training. While the courses in the FSA have always brought FSRI’s research findings to life through practical, real-world applications, improving the user experience on the platform has made the content even more accessible. Through this effort, FSRI underscored its mission to help firefighters stay up to date on the latest science to keep their skills sharp and remain safe, effective, and successful on the job. 

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