Every Age in mankind’s long history has been defined by a dominant characteristic of its era, an essential ingredient that best describes the mood and mindset of human society, its achievements and beliefs. The 19th and 20th century marked the end of the so called Age of Technology; the 21st marks the beginning of mankind’s Age of Change.
Nowhere is this more apparent than within the framework of education and training. The outdated teaching methods of our yesterdays, which only served to estrange students from the fruits of knowledge and alienate them from its true purpose, should be considered a thing of the past. Police trainers and educators need to step up and enrich their arsenal with more than years of experience and willingness to teach; they need to ride the digital waves of technology and seize the opportunities that it has to offer. Long distance learning, e-learning and webinars are now a part of our everyday life. Familiarization with technology and a basic understanding of psychology are considered essential tools in a trainer’s quest to spread knowledge. As nothing is set in stone, trainers need to adapt to the challenges and changes of the new era.
With this in mind, the CEPOL Unit of the Hellenic Police Academy undertook the responsibility of organising CEPOL Seminar 46/2012, “Train the Trainers” - Step 1. The seminar took place in Athens on 27 - 30 March 2012 and was aimed at nationally competent trainers/experts and police officers wanting to increase their competences in training, group working and understanding diversity in a multicultural training/working environment.
The main objectives of this two-step activity, which will be evaluated upon the completion of the second step, are:
- Given CEPOL and general educational standards, the participant will organise effective European and CEPOL learning environments, especially regarding the multicultural environment.
- Given a learning situation, the participant will identify and clarify the benefits of diversity in CEPOL and in European learning communities as well as to organize the learning process.
- Given a learning situation (e.g. course, lecture, simulation, discussion), the participant will facilitate and moderate learning processes by implementing appropriate learning methods and coaching, regarding the principle of personal responsibility for their own effective learning process, during and after the course.
- Given study materials, the participant makes use of opportunities for continuous quality improvement during the course (e.g.: evaluation, reflection, peer review).
- Given CEPOL's Learning Management System and knowledge bases, the participant will judge their applicability in the learning environment and make use of it, and encourage participants to access and contribute to the European Learning Network.
The seminar was led by experts from the CEPOL Secretariat, its Working Group on Learning, Germany (supporting country and host of Step 2), as well as from Greece.
Following the Seminar’s opening, the first day was dedicated to the Learning Environment of a CEPOL Seminar, the differences between National and International Training and the intercultural differences in Training. The subject of adult learning and the methods-approaches to the various methodologies and learning styles were also addressed.
Day two started with a presentation on Setting Objectives, followed by a practical exercise involving all participants that led to a discussion on the same subject. Then a presentation on Evaluation, followed by a small presentation of Kirk Patrick’s model, was given. The day continued with an Introduction to Peer Review and a presentation on exploring the psychology of police trainees and the possible role of police educators as first line psychological helpers. A short introduction into CEPOL’s Common Curricula ended the day’s workings.
During the opening of the third day the participants were introduced to e-Learning and its use in the CEPOL environment, reinforced with a practical exercise using CEPOL’s e-Net that led to a long session of questions and answers. One of the highlights of the training, was a direct live feed with the CEPOL offices in Bramshill, were, with the use of cameras and microphones, the participants had a real taste of blended learning and learned about the role of research in Police Training and CEPOL’s e-Library. After this, each participant had the chance to identify any possible missed topics or needing further exploration (to be dealt with in step 2). The day came to an end with the explanations provided by the experts regarding the assignment that should be carried out between the two steps of this activity.
The last day’s workings commenced with a summary of the activity, continued with an electronic evaluation of the Seminar and officially ended with the delivery of certificates to the participants.
Mr. Erik Vand, a participant from Denmark, had the following to say in his evaluation of this initial step of the seminar:
“Only on rare occasions do you run into persons and organizations that are truly dedicated and willing to take things to the next level. To me, CEPOL and the organizers, behind this “Train the Trainer – Step 1” seminar in Athens, Greece, did just that. It takes confidence and great skills to continuously try to improve, and I am very impressed by the level of both my co-students and of the performance of the Hellenic CEPOL Unit. It was truly a great privilege both personally and professionally to attend this seminar, and I am very much looking forward to the “Train the Trainer – Step 2” seminar in Münster, Germany in September”.