Virtual Delivery of NWCG Training Courses
Many NWCG training courses can be delivered to a decentralized audience as virtual instructor-led training. Instructors and course coordinators can utilize video conferencing platforms, teleconference capabilities, and web-based materials to achieve an interactive classroom learning environment. The following information is intended to assist instructors and course coordinators who choose this delivery option.
NWCG training courses are designed to be delivered as instructor-led (usually classroom and face-to face) and self-directed (usually online), or some combination thereof. Courses may include some combination of classroom lecture, discussion, interactive exercises, group activities, field exercises, quizzes and knowledge checks, and a final exam.
Virtual delivery cannot be used for required field training components, such as for S-130 and S-212; these must still be completed as in-person field experiences.
Virtual delivery should not be confused with self-directed training. Self-directed training courses are specifically designed for that delivery method. Courses designed for instructor-led delivery - whether in-person or using video conferencing platforms - must be delivered that way.
NWCG training courses are available from the NWCG Training Catalog. Courses are available by download or by order from National Fire Equipment System. See the training catalog for full information.
NWCG continues to post training courses to the website for download. This ongoing effort is intended to:
- Make training and performance support content freely available from the website so it is fully interconnected, easily accessible, and can readily serve as reference material.
- Enable guidance and training to rapidly and dynamically evolve in response to changing knowledge, information, and operations practices.
- Reduce the volume of obsolescent printed materials in the National Fire Equipment System cache.
Posting courses for download has been prioritized in support of virtual delivery. Priority for posting is 100- to 300-level courses that can be delivered locally, do not require simulations or other intensive in-class experience, have historically high delivery volume, and are required for position qualification.
Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher courses are available from the WFSTAR Catalog.
Issuing NWCG Training Completion Certificates
NWCG Training Completion Certificates, PMS 921-1, may be issued for all training course deliveries that meet course-specific delivery requirements and the delivery requirements stated in the NWCG Standards for Course Delivery, PMS 901-1. Instructor-led classroom delivery can be achieved virtually.
Virtual Delivery Platforms
Many options exist for virtual delivery of training courses. Video conferencing platforms are commonly used and readily available from the internet. Many agencies provide access and support for particular platforms. Course coordinators and instructors should follow agency direction when choosing which platform to use.
Virtual Delivery Tips
Get to know the technology
- Prior to session, test out the platform and process with instructor cadre.
- Develop an understanding of the platform’s capabilities, technical requirements, and use prior to, not during, course delivery.
- Virtual meeting platforms work well provided cadre possess a basic understanding of the capabilities and functionality. Features such as “raising hands,” polling, chat boxes, and “breakout rooms” are useful.
- Ensure familiarity with microphone, speaker, and video settings prior to getting underway.
- Practice the capabilities of the platform often in preparation to assist participants with basic troubleshooting.
- Test-run your assigned course sections.
Instructor and Coordinator Responsibilities
- Organize course materials for virtual delivery.
- Identify expectations of students in a virtual course setting.
- Manage the virtual delivery platform (For example, watch the chat discussion for questions and notifies the instructor).
- Ensure that participants are engaged and have a chance to contribute.
- Call for breaks at appropriate intervals.
- Collect feedback from audience on what worked and didn’t, both for the content and the delivery.
Consider Delivery Time Frames
- Participating in a training course for an eight-hour workday is a different experience virtually than in an in-person classroom setting. Coordinators and instructors should consider breaking courses up into smaller components and delivering them over a longer time period.
Ensure the Platform is Working
- If using virtual meeting platforms, ensure all participants can hear and see others.
- If using voice-only communication with individuals independently accessing web-based materials, ensure all participants can hear the instructor and view the material.
Share Ground Rules with Participants
- Minimize distractions and bandwidth by closing unneeded programs.
- Minimize body movements (movement can affect bandwidth use).
- Allow for a slower pace because of possible communication delays.
- Bring attention to self by signaling with hand, then pause before continuing.
- Mute audio connection when not speaking.