Indiana University's Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands has successfully launched the new National Trainer Development Program (NTDP) on behalf of the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Department of Interior. The program has been created to develop highly skilled NPS trainers responsible for training agency employees, partners, and contractors. This innovative program combines the state-of-the-art technology with live instruction to bring together learners from around the country.
The inventive NTDP course was designed to include both on-line and in-classroom instruction. After completing on-line courses, participants attend four days of classes at the agency's Instructor Institute in Omaha, NE. Participants practice critical training skills such as facilitation, presentation, and activity development, including how to assess the progress of trainees. But one of the most important aspects of the program is the opportunity to network and interact with others in the field of training and education.
The Eppley Institute has developed a comprehensive suite of eleven e-courses covering a wide variety of subjects from adult learning principles to classroom ethics. In an effort to keep long distance learners connected and engaged in the learning process, Eppley Institute staff designed the "Distributed Learning Platform," a web-based program that allows geographically dispersed participants to discuss courses, post assignments, and take tests. Over four months, participants added more than 1,000 postings in the Distributed Learning Platform. "The Distributed Learning Platform is a very exciting component," said Christy McCormick, Associate Director of the Eppley Institute. "The participants were tremendously engaged in the process. It also allowed them to get to know one another before meeting."
Because of its success, the NPS and the Eppley Institute plan to expand the NTDP as much as possible, especially in areas such as law enforcement and financial management. Currently, the Eppley Institute is compiling the evaluations submitted by pilot participants to make recommendations the future. The Institute will continue to work with the NPS to revise and refine the materials, as well as expand the program so it is available to all functional areas within the NPS, and perhaps the Department of Interior. "We are ecstatic about the program's success and can't wait until next year when we believe it will be even better" said McCormick.
To celebrate the launch of NTDP and raise awareness for professionals in any organization to enhance their training skills, the Eppley Institute is providing "Training Basics for Busy Professionals," a three-part e-course bundle used in the National Trainer Development Program, to the general public at no cost though January 31, 2010. Read the Update at www.eppley.org for details.
Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands