CPKN Hosts Online Component of Alberta ISEP

Alberta is making the most of CPKN's flexible service options in the delivery of its Investigative Skills Education Program (ISEP).

Designed in a blended learning format, this program ensures that investigators throughout Alberta will have access to consistent, structured, and progressive training throughout their careers. This month, CPKN began hosting the first of more than 30 courses that make up the online component of the program.

"The investigative skills and knowledge needed in today's policing profession are very complex," says Insp. (retired) Rick Gagnon, Provincial Coordinator of the ISEP program. "This, combined with an unprecedented rate of new hires, fewer mentors, and time constraints around training, has potential to seriously impact on officers' abilities to conduct effective investigations."

Recognizing these challenges, the concept for a blended ISEP began in 2007 at the Edmonton Police Service (EPS). However, the program's value to agencies throughout the province was soon realized. Now with funding provided by the Alberta Ministry of Solicitor General and Public Security, ISEP is managed by EPS on behalf of all Alberta police agencies, including municipal and Aboriginal police services and the RCMP. Following a curriculum tied to competencies on the skills development continuum, the program consists of four levels. After Recruit Training (Level 100), the program incorporates a blend of online and in-class problem-based learning to help officers develop their skills as their careers advance.

"Considering the nature of the program and the challenges associated with delivering to investigators across the province, we believe a blended approach is the most accessible and effective means for delivering this training," says Gagnon. "The e-learning portion allows learners to work through critical, theory-based portions of the program according to their own pace and schedules while the in-class component applies that knowledge in a highly focused, experiential learning environment."

Supported by a provincial governance committee, EPS's Training Unit has created the core ISEP curriculum through a collaborative feedback process with other agencies throughout the province.

"We've developed content based on provincial standards and shared commonalities between agencies," says Sgt. (retired) Carol Glasgow, Manager of Training for Edmonton Police Service. "Combining this with defined competencies demonstrated in the field, the program provides a comprehensive training experience for all Alberta investigators."

In early September the first cohort of 150 officers from nine agencies across Alberta began the online component of Level 200 via CPKN. Throughout the fall and early winter, these candidates will access fifteen online courses through CPKN's Learning Management System (LMS) and complete three one-day classroom sessions offered in both Calgary and Edmonton. Based on the current schedule, this first group of officers will complete Level 200 coursework in January 2010.

"The decision to deliver the online component through CPKN will significantly streamline program logistics," continues Glasgow. "In addition to hosting the courses on their LMS, CPKN will manage learner registration, provide technical support services, and deliver monthly reports on learner progress back to EPS. This significantly reduces the strain on our own resources and allows us to put greater focus on content development and in-class portions of the program."

To date, curriculums for Levels 200 and 400 have been finalized and Level 300 is under development. The full program is expected to be up and running by the fall of 2010.

"Like any large undertaking, ISEP is a work in progress," concludes Gagnon. "Over time and through ongoing collaboration, it will become more defined. With more than 2,000 investigators expected to participate over the next five years, ISEP is a priority initiative that will benefit all Alberta policing agencies. "