There is a revolution in learning underway across the world, and one COPS Office Grantee, The Partnership at Drugfree.org, is taking advantage of new technologies to help law enforcement professionals access its resources in new ways.
In response to their original program, the PACT360, The Partnership recently launched the PACT360 Online Learning Center, which provides law enforcement professionals and community members with opportunities to learn about aspects of substance abuse—at anytime from anywhere they can connect to the Internet.
What is the PACT360 Program?
PACT360 is a community education program that has been developed during the past six years by The Partnership at Drugfree.org, with funding from both the COPS Office and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). The program goal is to enhance the ability of local law enforcement to address youth drug and alcohol issues by engaging communities in a collaborative effort to help prevent and reduce substance abuse. The program includes a series of research-based, multimedia community education presentations that are designed to educate parents and teens about the dangers of drugs and alcohol in today’s ever-changing substance abuse landscape.
Providing information about specific drug threats, risks, and protective factors and warning signs of use, the program was developed to include a suite of research-based tools and information for parents, caregivers, youth, and community stakeholders. Each presentation within the program contains tips to help people recognize and respond to substance abuse issues in their neighborhoods.
Since its inception, more than 2,000 professionals have been trained—in person—to deliver PACT360 presentations, and together, they have reached more than 46,000 community members, including thousands of teens.
The Online Learning Revolution
As PACT360 has grown, so has the world of online learning, also known as e-learning. According to research gathered by SHIFT eLearning, in 2011 77% of American corporations were using online learning (in 1995 this number was only 4%). Currently, 4,600,000 college students are taking at least one of their classes online and by 2014 this number will increase to 18,650,000. By 2019, half of ALL classes will be done online.
“It made a lot of sense to start offering components of the training we deliver in person online,” said Mike Townsend, director of community education for The Partnership. “Nothing can replace a police officer working with other professionals in-person, standing in front of an audience of community members and using PACT360 as a starting point to share their knowledge and experience. However, if we can use online learning to better prepare more officers in more places to deliver PACT360, communities and families will be better served.”
Delivering PACT360 Online
Since the inception of the PACT360 program, its components—such as PowerPoint presentations, videos, speaker’s notes and handouts—have been available online, free of charge, at drugfree.org/PACT360. However, most PACT360 presenters were trained in-person by staff members of The Partnership at Drugfree.org. While in-person training is effective and well-received, this method limits the number of people that can be reached with this vital information. In response to this limitation, the Community Education team at The Partnership developed the PACT360 Learning Center, to virtually deliver PACT360 to law enforcement professionals and other stakeholders who want to help their community by delivering community presentations. Learning opportunities for audience members are also enhanced when presenters direct audience members to the Learning Center as a place to learn more about substance abuse issues.
What You’ll Find on the PACT360 Online Learning Center
The PACT360 Online Learning Center includes a number of useful digital tools, including slidecasts, or online presentations that include an audio track. Currently, the PACT360 Online Learning Center includes slidecast presentations of Meth360; Parents360; the Parents360 Rx Action Toolkit; the Parents360 Medicine Abuse module; the Parents360 synthetic drugs module; the Parents360 underage drinking module; and “Today’s Drug of Abuse” (an overview of today’s most commonly abused drugs).
Also included in the Online Learning Center are a number of useful e-books and digital documents, including the Drug and Alcohol Abuse E-book, which helps parents and caregivers find the right help for their child with a drug or alcohol problem; the Intervention E-Book, which helps parents and caregivers determine how to intervene if their child is experiencing a substance abuse issue; the Grandparent’s Guide, which provides tips to grandparents on how to communicate with their grandchildren; and the Drug Guide for Parents, which provides detailed information about commonly-abused drugs.
Visitors can also indicate if they are interested in participating in upcoming webinars that are open to the public, or if they would like to have online, real-time training for their own group or organization.
How to Access the PACT360 Online Learning Center
By visiting drugfree.org/PACT360 and clicking on “Guides and Training Materials“ in the navigation at the top of the page, anyone can access digital tools like slidecasts of PACT360 presentations and accompanying drug-specific modules, videos, recorded webinars and other learning materials, including e-books and downloadable parent guides.
“The Learning Center is a work in progress,” said Townsend. “In the coming months and years, we look forward to adding additional learning tools and opportunities to the site. The world of online learning is changing fast, and we want to make sure that the law enforcement professionals, community members, and ultimately the families we serve benefit from these changes.
Kevin Collins, Deputy Director, Community Education Programs, Partnership at Drugfree.org
Cassie Goldberg, Manager of Public Affairs, Partnership at Drugfree.org
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