The Dutch Police Academy has built a solid digital foundation which saves teachers volumes of time and ensures the consistency of educational content across their twelve campuses. Their streamlined approach allows instructors to focus on teaching instead of on rudimentary tasks.
With over 30,000 students a year and thousands of courses at multiple locations, doing everything manually would consume precious time. itslearning automates the Police Academy’s workflow so that educators can focus on what’s important.
Master Course Templates
The Dutch Police Academy has been using itslearning for over three and a half years and it serves as a hub for their learning environment. Educational Policy Advisor, Natascha Blijleven–Tebbe explains, “Curriculum committees create and update course templates for each course, which are distributed to teachers across all our campuses. Instead of having to edit thousands of different courses, itslearning ensures that changes to the main template are reflected in all linked courses. Teachers can then adapt the courses to their own teaching practices.”
Due to a seamless integration with the Police Academy’s Student Information System, courses are automatically generated and populated with students, teachers and mentors 40 days before they are due to start. A month before each course, students receive an automatic welcome e-mail directing them to itslearning.
“It is important to the Police Academy that cloud services are used properly and securely. Aspects such as classification of data, privacy, information security and reliability of the service play an important role in this,” Natascha informs us. itslearning is certified by one of the most widely recognized international standards for information security: ISO 27001. Read the certification details here.
Online lessons: Microsoft Teams itslearning integration
“Before the pandemic hit, some teachers and students were skeptical to online learning. After being forced to carry out parts of their lessons online, they realized that it wasn’t as hard as they thought and that it opened up a lot of possibilities. The use of itslearning increased during this time period. A lot of teachers and students have gained much more confidence in their digital skills.”
“We use Microsoft Teams for our online lessons. The integration of Microsoft Teams and itslearning is especially good. You can quickly create an online lesson in your plan and go directly from itslearning plans to lessons – that’s very helpful.”
The Police Academy provides basic training as well as specialist training (advanced courses for experienced police officers) for the over 65,000 police employees in the Netherlands. Courses alternate between studying theory, exercises and simulations at school; and putting it into practice on the police force.
Some courses last for three days and others up to four years. At first students were surprised that they had to use a learning platform for a three-day course, but they quickly discovered the advantages: itslearning courses contain all the information they need. The mobile app lets students access this information anytime, anywhere. Natascha emphasizes, “It’s very important for us when we are designing our courses that we optimize them for use on cell phones so that students can easily access them from school, home, the police station and even on the train.”
Personalized Learning with Learning Paths
One of the teaching strategies used by the Police Academy is personalized learning. “itslearning digital learning paths are a simple way for teachers to implement personalized learning. Depending on students’ scores on each step of the path, they can either move ahead or step aside to view supplemental materials, contribute to a discussion, etc. in order to reach their goal.”
“Learning paths are very easy to use: they allow students to progress at their own pace, and students appreciate this option. The use of this function has increased during the pandemic,” Natascha reports. Read more about learning paths here and see an example below.
Active Learning Using the Flipped Classroom
The Police Academy uses the Flipped Classroom strategy to make teaching more efficient and to promote active learning. Flipping the classroom entails providing students with material to study at home, and then reviewing this material in class. Natascha explains, “The Flipped classroom strategy activates students because they have to prepare for the next lesson. As a result of this preparation, there is more time in class for a deeper level of learning and practice.”
itslearning Discussion Boards & Blogs
Another way to activate students is by asking them to journal their experiences. Each week police leadership students document what they learned in the field and publish it to the itslearning course discussion board. In this way, students can learn from each other and post comments or questions. Other students write blogs in the platform. Teachers use these discussions and blogs to discover issues and address them in upcoming classes.
The Dutch Police Academy has plans to further streamline its pedagogical workflow with the help of itslearning. We’ll keep you updated as things progress. In the meantime, find out how this Norwegian teacher engages his students using virtual reality.
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