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Online learning: Being prepared in the modern world 

In this month’s blog on free preparedness training and education it’s Robert Fagan’s pleasure to highlight the course Staying Safe: How to Be Prepared in the Modern World from the United Kingdom’s Emergency Planning College (EPC).

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The platform for this course is Future Learn, whose stated purpose is to: "Transform access to education," and which hosts a plethora of titles, and even full degree programmes. And in terms of emergency preparedness, the organisation is certainly transforming access to education with the EPC’s ‘Staying Safe’ course.

The course is fully asynchronous; one can learn online from anywhere, at any time, and at one’s own pace with other people. Please note though that this offering is available until December 23, 2018.

The exception to the deadline date for registration and completion would be to purchase the upgrade package, which would give you unlimited access to the course and a certificate of achievement. However, an upgrade is not necessary for the overall course content, which is quite extensive. Designed to take three weeks, I think you’ll find yourself immersed in a great experience and you’ll be prone to working ahead beyond the allotted time boundaries, which are only for planning purposes anyway and not meant to be a restriction.

Week one sets the tone, with modules that discuss the purpose of preparedness, overall concerns, risk, challenges and emergency types. The course modules are short and easily digested. Short videos highlight key points and are very well packaged and presented.

While focused on UK citizens, this course has global applications and pertinent discussions for each module. Currently, there are students from around the world commenting in the discussion areas. So, technical issues such as understanding response protocols in the UK and the definitions of risk, hazards and the risk registry system shouldn’t deter you. They’re interesting.

Week two discusses in detail those threats and hazards of highest significance in the UK, many of which are universal around the world, such as flooding, fire, and terrorism. One of the things that makes this course stand out from others, however, is the emphasis on the modern world, as highlighted in the title, and brought to life with its modules on cyber security, digital footprints, crowded places and phone stoppages – all of which are important for your contingency planning.

Week three is the nitty gritty, or the icing on your preparedness cake, as the course walks you through how to make your own preparedness plan, quantifies value, and gives you lessons to help you prepare at and away from home.

There’s also a broader discussion about being prepared at work and how to help the greater community by helping others. A great touch for the overall course is the fillable preparedness plan workbook that one can download and use to take notes and build thoughts throughout the whole course while designing a personal preparedness plan.

This course covers a lot of ground remarkably well, with modern adult learning strategies, complex but easily understood content, and well-presented easily navigable subjects and final learning outcomes. The Emergency Planning College scored an important preparedness goal with this course and I hope it will do more.

Train today; live tomorrow! 

Robert Fagan, 30/11/2018
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