Online Security Training: Beneficial or Detrimental?

Thanks to the advancement and convenience of technology, society is becoming less social while convincing itself it is more connected. But personal interaction between individuals in any setting has benefits that will always outweigh, and far improve, from any social interaction conducted over social media or between various parties through the online world.
Colleges and Universities are moving rapidly toward the online class format, making school participation and degree completion attainable to more people in more environments from all walks of life. But, is there a loss to education and an appreciation for lectured material when the instructor cannot gauge the understanding or comprehension of the students through the medium of a faceless computer screen?
As an adjunct professor, I have been privy to the use of online class instruction, and while convenient to the students, as an instructor I have always been at a loss to understand and appreciate the depth of comprehension my students have been able to retain from the lecture material and learn something from what they have heard and observed. Did they really understand what was presented?
Of course, arguments will be made that students who pass an exam have validated proof that they have grasped the material and now have a level of confidence to move to the next course of material or the next course in their goal toward degree completion. Have they learned anything?
While not trying to rehash the debate over the benefits and detractions to online learning, I will simply offer that for some material an online format is suitable, if not acceptable, as a platform to learning and understanding the material with enough confidence to accept that the student is qualified to move to the next level. Do they know the material?
But, and here’s the proverbial “but”, not all material can be presented in such a fashion as to accept that the students have completely grasped the concept and the importance of the material presented without some form of direct, personal interaction. Security Concepts and Practices would be at the top of my list of the information that needs to be presented with direct contact between an instructor and a student.
This is all based on my firsthand experience. No studies, no expert opinions offered, and no research to bolster my argument. Plain and simple, this is my experience from trial and error. There are security companies who will refute this and argue this format is effective, cheaper, and more readily accessible to the security officer. They are free to deliver their product in the manner which they see fit, we will continue to invest in our staff and help them to succeed. After all, you get what you pay for.
When I am charged with providing instruction to an employee who will be tasked with overseeing and ensuring safety and security to my clients, or even my own family, I want to make sure they understand why they are there, what they are permitted to do legally and the steps they are to take to provide the level of service the client requires.
Another, even more important aspect, is the value of employee interaction with company management and trainers and each other and making them feel a part of the team. The building of this foundation has a bigger impact on staff retention and responsibility than nearly all other aspects of the work environment combined.
An additional benefit of face-to-face training is the importance of hands-on practical exercises. No amount of online direction can substitute for the eyes of an instructor directly focused on observing how a security officer handles themselves utilizing the material presented to them. All of this builds on the value and trust placed on an employee, and will benefit the employee, the company, and the client for the long-term.
Again, arguments can, and will most likely be made, that online security training is an effective delivery system to train security officers before deployment into the field. With the atmosphere and challenges faced today by law enforcement and public safety professionals, the human element must be more prevalent, and better trained.  Outside of an interview and the hiring process, where all applicants are usually on their best behavior and professional, personal interaction in a classroom setting provides the best opportunity to identify and correct a possible deficiency with a staff member before they are deployed to a worksite. There is also a benefit to understanding and recognizing human interaction and how much true professionalism exists with a staff member that will be reflected onto the client.
Classroom time is important to the staff and the company. I value this time with the security staff, and OPS Security Group will continue to advocate for this positive, effective format. Other security companies can keep their validated online exams and present them in court to justify what their staff did or didn’t do, and why.
For me, I want to know that I have taken every step necessary to adequately train my security staff. They should have more than a basic level of knowledge and understanding but a genuine appreciation based on my personal interaction with them and gauging their responses and adequately answering their questions. This is the product I want to deliver to my clients, and the foundation I want my staff to have when learning about security.

About OPS

OPS Security Group has over 80 years of combined experience protecting executives, businesses, residents, guests and government officials throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C. and New Jersey. As a regional security alternative with a service-first approach, we offer a level of customer service that international providers are too big to deliver. If you’d like to learn more, contact us!

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