Designing the Training Program Your Department Needs with Custom Activities

Designing the Training Program Your Department Needs with Custom Activities

The Activities Builder module in Vector’s LMS training platform is a powerful and highly customizable tool that enables your training officers to build the training program your department needs.

During a recent Best Practice Series webinar, Tim Riley, retired Fire Division Chief and Solutions Engineer at Vector, shared his top tips for optimizing custom activities in the Vector LMS & Training Management platform. Watch the full recording here.

Managing Components

Before building an activity, set up your custom reportable components to make it easier to build out a series of activities quickly. In the Managing Components section within the Activities Builder, select your training component from the dropdown menu and set your answer type.

Vector LMS Training Platform Components Manager

For example, if you select ‘Instructor’ as your training component and ‘Multiple Choice’ as your answer type, you can input all your training instructors for users to select from within the activity.

For reportable components that are more complex, like ‘Objectives,’ you will want to implement standardized naming conventions so you can sort and select only the elements from the multiple choice section that are needed for the activity you’re building.

TIM’S TIP: If you build your training program around the IFSTA manual, use the chapter numbers in your naming conventions to organize objectives associated with specific topics, making it easier to find and select the objectives you need for a particular activity.

Example Activities

In addition to building custom activities from scratch, you have access to over 100 pre-built activities in several training categories loaded and ready to use in your Vector LMS & Training Management platform. Simply navigate to the Import Examples Section within the Activities Builder for organized training activities you can import and assign.

For example, if you don’t have NIMS activities, you don’t have to build them. Several NIMS activities are pre-built in your platform, including links that take you right to the corresponding online course for completion, such as the NIMS ICS100 course on FEMA’s training website. Once completed, users or Admins can scan and attach the certificate of completion right inside the pre-built activity.

Building Custom Activities

Reportable Components vs. Free Form Components

Within an activity, you can set specific Reportable Components, which is information detailed in a Completions Report, including data and duration components and other important training details, like topics, objectives, date, duration, and instructor.

Free Form Components are elements like open text questions, resources attached from your File Center, tests, or additional information that supports an activity. Test scores are included in a Completions Report, and answers to Free From Component questions can be found in the Custom Activities Details Report.

The Importance of Formatting

Maintaining standardized formatting while building custom activities is just as important as standardizing naming conventions for complex answer types within the components manager. Keeping your custom activities organized and properly formatted helps ensure the right members are training on the right topics and required details are easily reportable.

TIM’S TIP: I built activities to meet ISO standards by speaking with OSHA inspectors and ISO auditors to determine what information they want to be detailed in training records, which includes the name of the activity, objectives, training details, date, duration, instructor, and the location training was performed.

Create a New Activity

TIM’S TIP: Be sure to select the training category for your new activity to ensure your activity is populated in the right training section.

Building a new custom activitiy in the Vector LMS Training Platform

Setting up a new activity is easy. After selecting the training category, assigning a unique name, and including a description, you can set assignment and completion options, privacy settings, select a training category tag, or attach custom certificates. When building a series of activities, including a basic description can help you build out a series quicker by copying the activity and adjusting the objectives. All other details copy into the duplicate activity for consistency across the series.

Selecting only one tag ensures clean reporting, such as for Aggregate Completions Reports. If more than one tag is selected for an activity, training time for the activity will be detailed in each tagged category.

TIM’S TIP: You want to build activities that can be modified over time as needed and utilized forever, leave your activity’s privacy setting to the recommended default to enable future editing by other Admins.

Once your activity is set up, it’s time to build it out. Select from your reportable and free form components, like objectives, to design the activity to meet your training needs. If you followed the best practice of using standardized naming conventions when setting up your objective, you can use the search tool to narrow results and select only the ones needed for the activity.

Assigning Activities

Turn an Activity into a New Assignment

After creating an activity, you can immediately assign it to selected members from within the activity. Give it a start and end date, and users will see their new assignment under My Assignments.

Add Activities to Credentials

Keep in mind, tagging an activity with a training category does not add that activity to the related category in a Credential. For example, if you set an activity’s category to ‘Officer Training’, that activity will not automatically populate in your Officer Training category within your ISO Training Tracker Credential.

Adding activities to a credential in the Vector LMS Training platform

To add individual activities to multiple Credentials, select the gear icon within the activity and choose the appropriate Credentials and Topics. You can also easily add multiple activities and courses (custom courses or pre-built courses from Vector’s comprehensive course catalogs for fire and EMS) within a Credential topic by clicking the green ‘+’ button and selecting the desired tag to narrow results.

Customizing your training program with relevant and required training activities is key to meeting your department’s unique training needs, which often means satisfying demands from multiple influences, including leadership, regulatory standards, state requirements, and municipal councils.

TIM’S TIP: If you do not see the tag you want to add to a topic within a Credential, all activities with that specific tag are already in that topic.

Mass Manage Activities

Mass manage activities in Vector LMS Training platform You can easily bulk manage activities you no longer need for your training program. Simply check off two or more activities in the Activities Builder and select Archive, Delete, or Settings from the dropdown menu. Keep in mind, archiving any outstanding activities, including activities with pending validations or incomplete assignments will be deleted. Completions are stored in the Activities Builder Archive, but are not reported in Record Completions. Archived Activities can be restored and added back to your selected training category at any time. As a recordkeeping safeguard, only Activities that have never been completed can be deleted.

TIM’S TIP: When bulk managing activities, be sure to clear your selections after editing to ensure those activities are not still selected as you continue to edit additional activities.

Watch the recording of this engaging virtual discussion and register for our weekly Best Practice Webinar Series for more helpful tips on getting the most out of your Vector Solutions from our subject matter experts.

If your department is not yet leveraging the power of the Vector LMS & Training Management platform to manage its training and compliance program, request a demo today.

Want to Know More?

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