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The future of correctional training is going digital

COTC breaks new ground in the realm of online training


By Luke Whyte

In the world of corrections, there are some things that only experience or an expert trainer can teach. With most everything else, however, it’s only a matter of time before technology enables us to take any class at any time with any number of the best trainers in the world.

The Corrections Online Training Collaborative (COTC), it appears, is a major step in the journey toward that goal.

Founded by the American Correctional Association (ACA) and the online training company Essential Learning, COTC is a cooperative venture between ACA, the American Jail Association (AJA) and the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) that provides not just online content for training, but interactive e-learning classes for correctional professionals.

“We cover a range of things from very basic stuff like ‘Key Control’ on up to ‘Principles of Management and Leadership’ and everything in-between,” says Dr. Gerald McCleery, senior VP of strategic development at Essential Learning. “It is a couple of hundred courses all together and growing.”

Prior to partnering with Essential Learning, which is the largest provider of online staff training in the country, ACA “had a small online training service, but they didn’t have the resources to grow,” says Patrick Tully, SVP of business development with COTC. “ACA liked our business model, our style and our culture and that’s how it was born. Then AJA joined followed by APPA.”

The online training program is accessible through one of two avenues. Either an agency can purchase a learning management system tailored for their organization or individuals can purchase courses through the ACA, AJA and APPA websites on a retail basis.

“When an agency purchase a learning management system it is the delivery platform (for the courses), but it also manages the training in terms of reporting, scheduling and summarizing all the training data for the organization,” McCleery says.

The exciting thing about this is that, by working with COTC, both individual staffers and/or whole agencies will have the capacity to receive top-notch online training related to ACA standards and/or AJA and APPA certification standards.

If you want to learn more about online training with COTC, visit either the APPA, ACA, AJA or Essential Learning websites.

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