Peacekeepers Adopt Blended Learning

Recently, the RCMP's International Peace Operations Branch (IPOB) initiated the transition of its Peacekeeper Pre-Deployment Training program to a blended learning model. This summer, Canadian police officers selected to participate in a UN mission to Sudan will be the first to participate in this new learning approach.

In 2008, in response to a United Nations request for contributing countries to meet specific training standards, the RCMP's Learning and Development (L&D) Branch conducted an in-depth analysis of IPOB's training needs. Based on that study, a number of recommendations were made to make pre-deployment training more effective and efficient. One of the recommendations involved adapting certain elements of the training into online modules.

Earlier this year, the RCMP worked with CPKN to develop A Strategic Level Overview of Peacekeeping and The Establishment and Functioning of Peacekeeping Operations, two of the four identified online modules that will be used for pre-deployment training. During this collaboration, the RCMP developed training content while CPKN contributed its expertise to create engaging learning environments and experiences for learners. Throughout July and August, a contingent of twenty-five officers scheduled to deploy to Sudan in September will complete these modules as pre-requisites to the classroom component of the pre-deployment program. While RCMP members will access the modules via the RCMP's internal AGORA system, officers from municipal, provincial and regional police forces will complete the training via a designated IPOB portal on CPKN's Learning Management System. The two remaining modules, Effective Mandate Implementation and Standards, Values, and Safety of Peacekeeping Personnel will be implemented at a later time.

In addition to allowing mission applicants to complete a portion of the mandatory training according to their own pace and schedules, the introduction of an online training component will reduce the conventional program by more than a day. While this is a new model for IPOB, it has been a highly successfully approach, generating benefits at both learner and organizational levels for other police training initiatives that incorporate theory and hands-on elements. On an annual basis, approximately 200 officers will complete the blended pre-deployment training.