NATO Summit eLearning delivery

It’s not everyday you have Prime Ministers, Presidents and Politicians from all over the world visiting Wales.

However on 4th and 5th of September 2014 South Wales played host to many World leaders including, Barrack Obama (USA), Angela Merkel (Germany), Francois Hollande (France), Stephen Harper (Canada), Matteo Renzi (Italy) and the UK’s David Cameron to name a few. Also in attendance were nearly 200 VIPs and 4000 delegates.

The purpose of the event, held at Newport’s Celtic Manor Resort, was to discuss global issues including Wars in the Middle East, the tension between Russia and the Ukraine, the tension between Israel and Palestine, the constant threat of terrorism and the global financial crisis.

With so many heads of state in one geographical area for a, well-publicised, short-period of time, the challenge for the Police and its partner agencies was to keep South Wales safe.

The recent rise in terror threats, anti-semitic attacks and on-going wars meant that this was a big challenge especially since the previous NATO Summit in Chicago (link) was so hostile.

With Gwent Police (the event fell in their Policing area) calling in support from Police forces nationwide, the requirements to train and inform officers was devolved to South Wales Police.

My duties, as lead e-learning developer, was to ensure that each and every Police officer was fully informed of the geographical area, it’s resources and facilities, the method of policing and its tactics and the use of communications devices.

I worked alongside the NATO planning team and South Wales Police’s operational support teams to figure how current training could be transformed into an e-learning format, and figured what new information was required specifically for this event.

I also contacted a representative from each force that had officers attending the event to check what e-learning and LMS facilities they had in order for me to tailor my modules to their requirements.

Once this details was confirmed, I set about photographing key landmarks in Cardiff and Newport City centres, filmed Police officers demonstrating methods of restraint and handcuffing, and animated communications devices to show their key features and methods of use.

The information that I had gathered lent itself best to three e-learning modules. An informative module, a operational module and a communications module and all to be housed on a variety of 20 different learning management systems (LMS).

The mandate from chief officers was to ensure that every Police officer had completed all three modules prior to attending the event, therefore the challenge was on for me to ensure that my modules were complete in sufficient time to give Police officers plenty of time to complete the modules.

My software tool of choice was Adobe Captivate. All modules have been created using this application. It integrates well with Adobe Photoshop and Flash and makes creating a SCORM 1.2 package easy. Having created many e-learning modules in Captivate I am familiar and comfortable with it and therefore was able to work smart and keep on top of my deadlines.

Once I had reached a point at which I was happy to say my work was nearly done, the next phase, of which I fear, came. Showing to others and asking for feedback.

I have learnt over the years not to take negative feedback personally and that the design is my representation of the content. After all, it is Art, and Art is based upon opinions and interpretations.

So, after a number of critical friends had fedback their thoughts and observations I amend the detail accordingly (to give an idea of detail here, I amend an uppercase letter for a lowercase one, save the Captivate project file, publish to SCORM 1.2, zip the outputted files, upload to the LMS test server overriding previous versions, then I resend the URL to the module for which the critical friend then has to trawl through the content again to check if the amendment has been made.

A lot of time and effort but something that is crucial) and presented my final modules to my senior management team, who in turn present it to the head of the NATO planning team, and after a few tweets and adjustments the feedback was extremely positive for which I am immensely proud.

On the 4th and 5th of September 2014 the sun shone on Newport and Cardiff. Families, friends and colleagues flocked to Cardiff City centre and Cardiff bay. Some saw US president Barrack Obama arrive at Cardiff Castle by helicopter, some saw the warships that were docked in the Inner Harbour and the fighter jets on the Barrage at Cardiff bay. No one saw trouble.

Although some businesses were disrupted prior to the event which attracted some criticism from local residents and council groups, the event passed without any major incident, it achieved its objective of keeping South Wales safe, and has been hailed as a success, thanks in no small part to the planning and preparation. This post is to recognise the part that I played in the big event that was the NATO Summit 2014.

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