The First Fifty Courses: Trends & Thoughts

Since our launch in mid-August, we’ve assisted in the design of over fifty courses currently live or in development on the site. Through this process, we’ve gained some insight into instructor design preferences, and have recognized a few interesting trends in the areas of structure, pricing, and audience. Here are some quick thoughts on how current instructors and designers are dealing with those issues:

1. Course Structure: When we designed the site, we wanted to provide instructors the flexibility to build college-style, instructor-led courses or automated courses that minimized their own involvement. We anticipated that instructors would select one of the types (we thought the instructor-led style would be the most popular option) and then design their course. We did not predict what many instructors have devised and implemented: the hybrid Open course offering. This style of course combines the Open course format with occasional instructor involvement. In several instances, instructors have developed Open courses that allow students to move through all course content at their own pace and then assessed students’ performance by including an instructor-graded final project at the end of the course. In other instances, instructors have included several instructor-graded assignments throughout the Open course; this ensures students receive feedback on multiple occasions from the instructor and gives the instructor confidence that students understand and can apply course concepts. Whatever their design, these hybrid Open courses combine the flexibility of self-paced instruction with the effectiveness of direct student-instructor contact and offer a great design solution for instructors who do not have time to monitor every aspect of a multi-week course but wish to directly interact with and assess every student in their course offering.

2. Course Pricing: With a few large exceptions, instructors appear to be relying on the prices of their existing in-person courses as they develop pricing strategies. According to dozens of instructors, distance learning versions of their in-person courses have several advantages that they consider when setting prices:

  • No associated travel, per diem, or registration costs
  • Perpetual access to course information upon purchase
  • Direct and unlimited contact with instructors
  • Rich and varied content

With these aspects in mind, most instructors are choosing to price their Law Enforcement Learning courses at or slightly higher than their in-person analogues. This replicates pricing strategies currently observed in the higher education market, and suggests that students and departments will generate cost savings on ancillary expenses rather than from direct tuition breaks.

3. Course Audience: In most cases, instructors are choosing to limit content to verified law enforcement personnel. This limits a course’s potential audience, but increases information and tactics security. It’s been a great experience to work on our first fifty courses and we’re moving quickly toward our goal of hosting all of the best law enforcement and security content.

As we continue to assist instructors and observe trends, we’ll keep you informed of the great ideas and techniques we see instructors using. It’s an exciting time in law enforcement training, and we can’t wait for you to see some of the incredible courses instructors are currently building on the site. Check back soon for more thoughts, and head over to the Learn page to see what you can sign up for right now.

The Law Enforcement Learning Team