Will choosing the right training materials really change how effectively you administer your emergency medical service and fire service training courses? According to Gray Young, Chief of Training at South Bossier Parish Fire District #2, this could very well be the case. From textbooks to audio books to online tests and instructor resources, Young has seen first hand how quality training materials impact his students' success and his ability to ensure they receive the best learning experience.
Gray Young's fire department utilizes Jones & Bartlett Learning Public Safety Group (PSG) books for all of their fire and EMS training materials. PSG had the chance to speak with Young about his experience using PSG books and the Navigate learning management system in his classes:
What initially led you to consider adopting Public Safety Group books, and how do the books compare to the competition?
I was tired of other publishers pushing their overly complicated material on us. I felt like a lot of the material in their books goes above what my U.S.-based firemen need to know. Examples include procedures for Canada and Mexico, as well as the metric system. I felt like their books overwhelm the reader with material that doesn’t have a bearing on JPRs. It felt like extra words were added just to make the book thicker.
In comparison, I find the PSG books to be concise and easy to read with a good layout. The book almost feels a bit more like an informational magazine than a big, old-fashioned textbook. For example, other publishers like to use cartoon pictures and drawings for images in their books, while PSG uses actual photographs that are more pleasing to the eye and better represent real life. Overall, I find the PSG books to be concise enough without being overwhelming with “filler” information.
What do you like about the Navigate Learning Management System offered with the books? What do your students like about Navigate?
To me, Navigate is a complete gamechanger. I love the ease of creating and assigning optional practice tests for my classes without having to print out paper tests. If I want to give students multiple attempts on a test, I can do that; or, if I don’t want to give multiple attempts, I can set a strict date and time for the test to open and close, allowing me control over when my students take it. I can even set restrictions on when students can access the materials in certain chapters; I typically don’t want them to go too far ahead in studying, so this is a nice feature. The online gradebook makes it easy to review my students’ scores and track their performance as well.
When it comes to my students, I often find that the students who utilize Navigate the most in their fire courses do the best when it comes time to take their certification exams. For example, I set up a lot of optional tests to help my students study, usually allowing multiple attempts. I’ve found the ones who take these tests multiple times retain the material more and do better on their certification exams.
Regarding what my students like, the audiobook has been a hit with students because they can turn it on when traveling to and from work and listen to the book being read out loud to them. It’s a nice way to reinforce the material in the text.
Do you have any statistics or success indicators that show how PSG has helped your classes?
While I don’t have hard data to back this up, I would say the students who really utilize Navigate (taking the optional tests I create, utilizing the PowerPoints, etc.) typically score 10-15 points higher on their certification exams. For example, a recent Fire Inspector I class I taught had a high score of 95, followed by 90. Both these students (and most of the top scoring students) were the kids who I would describe as “Navigate power users.”
Any closing comments you’d like to share with people considering adopting PSG products?
The best thing about your products is the service and support from the sales and technical support staff. Whenever I have an issue I call or email your team about, I get a very quick return email or phone call to help me resolve the issue. Jason Hanson and Sarah Ferguson have been great; whenever I have an issue, they fix me up and get my program back to business in mere hours.
I’d also re-emphasize how great Navigate is for teaching. I love that I can access it anywhere, whether I’m at the fire station, my house, or eating lunch at a café. It makes it so much easier for me to keep a tab on how my students are doing and ensure they’re getting the best learning experience possible.
For more information about the products highlighted in this Customer Spotlight or to learn more about how the Public Safety Group can help you reach your unique training goals, please contact your dedicated representative today.