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Table of Contents
a) Navigating to the Website
b) Subscribing for a Single User License
c) Subscribing for Multiple User Licenses
d) Creating Your Client Administrator Account
i) Updated Pricing and Check Out
(3) Viewing the Insights
(4) Viewing Key Elements
(5) Viewing the Script
(6) Recording and Practicing Your Response
iii) Debriefing (After-Action Review)
(1) Evaluation Scoring
(2) Scoring Summary
(3) Review Your Module Progress
m) Evaluator Role (FTO, Training Supervisor, Shift Supervisor)
i) Reviewing Recorded Responses
ii) Evaluating Recorded Responses
iii) Evaluated Responses
iv) Documenting VOS Evaluated Responses and Test Scores
v) DOR (Daily Observation Report/s)
vi) Training Files
Welcome to the ThinBLUEOnLine.com (TBOL), Verbal Options Simulator (VOS) experience. TBOL is a continuous learning product. The Verbal Options Simulator (VOS) utilizes patented technologies that allow officers to explore scenarios, learn from observing a role model, and practice using their voice effectively. It is specifically structured to be compatible with the way the brain learns from encountering new situations. Practicing these simulations teaches the brain to classify these new skills as important for long-term retention and embeds skills that facilitate proper reflexive actions in the field, thus freeing the brain to focus on the continuously developing tactical situation.
This guide will assist you in getting started in the TBOL Client Administrator role or Train the Trainer role for your agency.
Navigating to the Website
Begin by opening your Internet Browser window/tab *(Display Format may vary depending on the Internet Browser or Device selected for utilizing TBOL) and typing in the following address https://courses.thinblueonline.com in the Address Bar and hit <Enter>. This will take you to the TBOL/LMS Checkout Login Screen, the starting point for using the TBOL system. (Refer to Image 1.1 below).
Next, <click> on the Subscribe Tab from the Menu Bar. (Refer to Image 1.2 below).
Choose your desired subscription term from available options and <click> select. *(Refer to Image 1.3 below).
Subscribing for Single User Licenses
You will be directed to the TBOL Check Out Summary page where you will have an opportunity to review the details and terms of your TBOL subscription. Here you will have the option to enter any discount codes applicable to your purchase and proceed with your purchase for the default of one user license, by <clicking> the Check Out button. (Refer to Image 1.4 below).
Subscribing for Multiple User Licenses
To subscribe for multiple Users, activate the Purchase for Others option by <clicking> in the box under the Purchase for Others heading. Next, modify the Quantity to reflect the number of licenses you would like to purchase, then <click> the Update button below, followed by the Check Out button, after you have reviewed your order. (Refer to Image 1.5 below).
Creating Your Client Administrator Account
After <clicking> on the Check Out button, a pop-up window will appear, requesting you, the TBOL Client Administrator, to create your account. This account will be used to Login following Payment *(Credit Card Transactions are Preferred, though a Check or Purchase Order can be accepted. Contact your Account Manager for further information regarding Payment with a Check or PO). (Refer to Image 1.6 on Pg. 9).
Updated Pricing and Check Out
After you have created your Client Administrator Account, you will be returned to an updated Check Out Summary page that reflects your purchase of multiple user licenses for your agency. (Refer to Image 1.7 below).
After completing the Subscription process in TBOL and creating a TBOL Client Administrator Account, you will Login and be directed to the My Learning Tab on the Menu Bar in TBOL. Under the My Courses sub-menu on the sidebar, you will see a sub-menu titled Manage Users. By <clicking> on Manage Users, a pop-up menu will appear with your User credentials, followed by as many User Entry fields as you have available licenses. To add a new User, or replace an existing User, simply proceed to the first Empty line and field, or Line containing the User you wish to replace, and enter the User’s Name, E-Mail Address, and Role in the departments (the Role is important for reporting purposes). Once you have completed this process and repeated for the number of Users you wish to add or replace and Save your changes, New Users will be sent an e-mail notification to the address you provided with a link to Login to TBOL and immediately reset their Password to one of their choosing that complies with TBOL Password conventions. (Refer to Image 1.8 below).
*(Purchasing TBOL Subscriptions/Licenses and assigning and replacing TBOL Users for your agency, along with physical Report requests, comprises the full-extent of the Client Administrator privileges in TBOL).
The TBOL Client Administrator may request TBOL Progress and Scoring reports for their department to be generated at a frequency of their choosing and distributed to defined, departmental personnel (FTOs, Supervisors, Administrators) by contacting your TBOL Account Manager and providing a list of the Full Name, E-Mail Address, and Departmental Role of each person the TBOL Progress and Scoring Report will be distributed to.
TBOL Progress and Scoring reports may contain as few or as many reporting fields as are available and necessary to the requesting agency. A list of specific reporting fields and order of presentation on the report, should also be included with the initial TBOL Progress and Scoring Report request, provided to your TBOL Account Manager. The TBOL Account Manager will forward your request to the TBOL Information Technology group for processing. Time required to initial report generation and distribution will vary, depending on the complexity of the data your agency requires on their TBOL Progress and Scoring Reports. (Refer to Image 1.9 for a Sample Report in MS Excel format below).
Rolling out TBOL to Officers and Recruits/Trainees
The approach or method you use to rollout TBOL to the Officers of your agency is largely dependent on the size of your department and available resources. In a small department the Client Administrator and Training Supervisor might conduct a Train the Trainer session, including one technology savvy Officer from each shift, who can then return to their shift
and train the remaining Officers. FTOs or certified LE Instructors might also be utilized to train personnel.
In a medium to large size agency, it would be best to have the Client Administrator and Training Supervisor conduct a class, using the TBOL Client Administrator and Train the Trainer Guide, for the agencies certified LE Instructors and FTOs. Once Train the Trainer session is completed, TBOL Courses can be scheduled for Officers at your department as needed, across shifts and specialized units.
Managing the TBOL rollout process
Managing the TBOL rollout process can be informal for a small agency with a handful of sworn personnel and progress could be tracked on a simple MS Excel spreadsheet.
Where medium and large size departments are concerned, the Client Administrator and Training Supervisor should track and share progress utilizing a Project Management tool to ensure that the TBOL rollout process does not stall and that all sworn personnel are trained at the department in a timely and efficient manner.
Leveraging an existing process to rollout TBOL
Yes, if your agency has implemented Law Enforcement Software and trained Users previously, the process utilized to rollout those products, could be modified and adopted to conduct the TBOL rollout, as necessary.
Getting Officers to take the courses
The best way to encourage use of TBOL is to require Officer to complete Course/Modules on a regular basis. Basically, through a mandate from the department’s Administrative Staff (Chief, Deputy Chief of Operations/Patrol, etc.).
Incentivizing TBOL use
Officers are competitive by nature. You could have shifts compete with each other, tracking each shift’s progress through modules utilizing their Evaluation Scores, Number of Courses/Modules completed collectively, etc. Officers love free stuff. So, rewards could range from items that benefit an Officer in their daily job, such as handcuff keys, organizers for paperwork, tactical bags, departmental challenge coins, or maybe even swapping responsibility for handling calls for service during shift overlaps.
Frequency of TBOL Course/Modules to be Completed by Officers/Recruits
TBOL develops and releases one-hundred or more new modules each year. Officer should complete an average of two modules each week. New Recruits/Trainees should complete as many TBOL Courses/Modules as possible during their Probationary period with the department, to include time spent in each phase of the FTO Program. New Recruits/Trainees should be immersed in TBOL during their first year of service.
In order to train Users and Evaluators to perform their Role utilizing the TBOL system, it is imperative that each Instructor/Trainer have attended and successfully completed a basic Law Enforcement course in Presentation Skills, Instruction/Train the Trainer, or Field Training Officer’s school. Ideally, LEOs and LE Instructors teaching the TBOL system will have a demonstrated ability to navigate and utilize technology. It would also be helpful if the LEO or LE Instructor had some amount of experience in utilizing Law Enforcement Software. TBOL Instructors should at a minimum be proficient in the following:
• Be able to articulate the process of creating effective presentations.
• Possess a demonstrated ability to deliver an effective presentation.
• Be able to demonstrate the methods for reducing presentation fears and stresses - notably using preparation and control, to build confidence.
*(If a Field Training Officer, LE Instructor, or Training Supervisor is not available within your agency, it is suggested that you contact your TBOL Account Manager, to arrange for a Certified TBOL Instructor/Current or Retired LE Instructor to travel to your agency and train necessary personnel in the use of TBOL and its Pro Practice methodologies).
ThinBlueOnLine.com provides a structured practice platform that builds verbal proficiency skills across your entire department. TBOL uses a patented learning approach that lets officers learn faster and retain longer through engaging self-study practice sessions. TBOL takes the effectiveness of simulator-based training and makes it practical for building skills in a wide variety of everyday police work.
Law Enforcement Officers employ a wide variety of tools. These include a sidearm, radio, handcuffs, taser, baton, and many more. Yet there is one tool that is used more often than any other. This tool, when used properly, can de-escalate most tense situations. And when used improperly, it can lead to violence, injury, and even death. That tool is YOUR VOICE.
Your voice, when used properly, can make all the difference. But it must be used properly, and the natural ability to use it properly every time comes down to a set of skills. So how do you get those skills?
A great way to build skills is through experience. The more encounters that you work through, the more skills you develop. You can develop some skills by observing role models, but real learning only happens when you practice those skills yourself.
Think about how you learned to use your sidearm. Yes, you learned technique in advance. And you learned by watching others demonstrate solid skills. But the only way that you can personally build skills is by doing it yourself.
Obviously, you don’t use your sidearm enough on patrol to effectively build solid skills with it. And, most likely, when you are using your sidearm on patrol, the odds are that you are concentrating on the tactical situation, and not thinking about improvements to your technique at that time.
In order to get enough experience, and to really be able to concentrate on technique, you built your skills through practice, in a safe environment. When you wanted to test your skills in action, you went into a simulator to see how you did. You looked at your results, took notes, and worked on making improvements.
The exact same technique can be employed to develop verbal skills, just like you built skills in using your sidearm. And as a police officer you are likely to be using your voice a lot more – every single day, in fact – than you will ever use your sidearm!
You need to practice using your voice in the Verbal Options Simulator (VOS), because when you use your voice properly it can save lives on both sides of the badge.
The Verbal Options Simulator brings a state-of-the art approach to simulator-based training for verbal skills. The user interface is clean and efficient and allows the officer to follow a learning path that works best based on their own learning style. They can experiment, explore, and practice the verbal skills that are regularly required while on patrol. Because when it comes to law enforcement, your most crucial tool is your own voice. The VOS user interface is broken into four major areas.
At the top is the Module Progress map, which shows your current location in the system
At the left is the video area, which can display role models or challenges, which require a verbal response
To the right is an area for text and interactive controls to appear, which can be Insights, Key Elements, scripts, video recording system, or Help.
At the bottom is the control panel, featuring relevant Command Buttons and brief instructions that allow you to navigate the console (Refer to Image 1.10 below).
The Command Buttons
The buttons enable the learner to explore information in their own learning style and at their own pace. Buttons are placed at the lower corners of the screen making them convenient for navigating on a tablet or other mobile device. If you are using a computer, a mouse can be used to click on the buttons as well.
Here is a breakdown of the buttons based on their role within the VOS learning system.
Navigation Buttons are used to progress through the module, section to section, and from element to element within a simulated conversation. (Refer to Image 1.11 below).
Text Display Buttons
Text Display Buttons are used to display various text information during Build Skills and Evaluation sections. (Refer to Image 1.12 below).
Video Buttons are used to switch from “Challenge Mode” where you respond verbally, to “Role Model Mode” where you can observe simulated officers giving best-practice responses. (Refer to Image 1.13 below).
Begin by opening your Internet Browser window/tab *(Display Format may vary depending on the Internet Browser or Device selected for utilizing TBOL) and typing in the following address https://courses.thinblueonline.com in the Address Bar and hit <Enter>. This will take you to the TBOL/LMS Login Screen, the starting point for using the TBOL system. (Refer to Image 1.14 below).
Next, enter your assigned User Name and Password, at the top of the page, and <click> the Login button or hit <Enter>. (Refer to Image 1.14).
Navigating and Taking Courses
One you have logged in, you will be directed to the All Courses Tab (Default), where you can view every course/module available to you in TBOL. You can also filter these courses by placing your mouse pointer over a popular topic (Tag) in the sidebar menu and <click> on the Tag. To clear this filter and return to All Courses, simply place your mouse pointer over Clear Filters at the bottom of the sidebar menu and <click>. You can also Share and Launch courses from this page by placing your mouse pointer over the Share or Launch button and <click>. (Refer to Image 1.15 below).
Navigate to the Featured Tab, by placing your mouse pointer over the tab and <click>. On the Featured Tab you can view and launch newly released modules from TBOL that address current events and important trends in Law Enforcement or Corrections. (Refer to Image 1.16 below).
My Learning Tab
By <clicking> on the My Learning Tab, where you can view your Courses, Transaction History, Profile, and Change Password. Simply <click> on the Sidebar Menu to move to each of these areas or remain on the My Courses page where you can Filter your courses, search your courses, or Launch a new course or continue a course. (Refer to Image 1.4 below). (Refer to Image 1.17 below).
Finally, by placing your mouse pointer over the Help Tab and <click>, you can access links to important documents to assist you in navigating and using TBOL, from Quick Start and User Guides, with step-by-step instructions for using TBOL, to FAQs that contain commonly asked questions by Officers, FTOs, and Administrators who use TBOL. (Refer to Image 1.18 below).
Launching a Course
When you are ready to begin a new, simply navigate to the My Learning Tab and <click> on the Launch button next to your desired course. Users can also launch a Course from the All Courses Tab. (Refer to Image 1.19 below).
INFO Window/Entering the Course
After you have launched the TBOL course you wish to begin or continue, the INFO Window will appear. The INFO Window provides the Officer with a brief summary of the scenario to be presented in the selected course/module, and updated statistics on a) How many attempts are allowed for this course/module, b) How many attempts the Officer has currently made, c) the Officer’s grade for the most recent attempt, d) the Officer’s grading method, and e) the last grade reported. From there the Officer can choose to <click> on Enter and begin the module or use the Back button in the lower, left corner of the page to return to the My Learning Tab. (Refer to Image 1.20 below).
It is important when navigating TBOL that the User remember there are multiple ways to navigate a Course, and the Challenges within each Course.
If you are using the lowest left and right single arrows, the User is following a recommended learning flow. You will notice next to each button the text is informing the learner of what the course will display when clicking that arrow. You will notice that with each click the feature above is highlighted. If the User continues to click through the learning flow each element will be shown. (See Image 1.20a below).
The User can also navigate through the challenges on a custom path if they prefer to see the information in a different flow by <clicking> on each button independently (Insights, Key Elements, Full Script). They can also <click> independently to view the Challenge or the Response. (Refer to Image 1.11 on Pg. 15).
Each navigational option allows the User to either choose to follow a recommended learning flow or path or customize their learning to their strengths or preference.
To go to the next challenge the User can also <click> on the double arrows to proceed to the first page of the next challenge or the first page of the previous challenge. (Refer to Image 1.11 on Pg. 15).
Navigating Within a Course/Module
This is the Start page where you will be prompted to begin the Course/Module you have selected. From here you can <click> on the glowing, green arrow in the bottom, right-hand corner of the Start page to begin the Course/Module. (Refer to Image 1.21 below).
You can also <click> on the Question Mark button to the left of the Start button to access a brief, avatar-led session on how to use the Verbal Options Simulator (VOS). (Refer to Image 1.22 below).
Proceeding to the Briefing
Once you have <clicked> on the glowing, green Start button from the Start page, you will be directed to the Briefing page, where an (Shift Supervisor) avatar will provide you with information you will need to respond to the Challenges (Simulation/Scenario) you are about to view. This information is very similar to the information you would normally receive from Communications when being dispatched to a call for service.
To the right of the Shift Supervisor avatar, you will see an abbreviated, written summary of the Briefing provided by the Shift Supervisor avatar. (Refer to Image 1.23 below).
Moving Through Each Challenge
Once you have listened to the Briefing from the Shift Supervisor avatar and read the corresponding, written summary, you are ready to <click> on the glowing, green arrow in the bottom, right corner of the Briefing page and proceed to the first Challenge. (Refer to Image 1.24 below).
There are several different ways to view and practice your response to each Challenge presented in a TBOL Course/Module. A common approach would be to start by viewing the Verbal Response, viewing the Role Model, reading the Insights, reading the Key Elements, then practicing your response using the Record feature, until you are ready to move on to the next Challenge. Of course, you could use any of these tools, in any order you prefer, with similar results. The key is to practice and prepare to respond appropriately to each Challenge in the Evaluation portion of the Course/Module. (Refer to Image 1.25 below).
Viewing the Insights
The purpose of the Insights in TBOL is to provide the Officer with more, in-depth, information regarding the current Challenge, and typically discusses why the Role Model responded to the Challenge as they did, both verbally and often, tactically. (Refer to Image 1.26 below).
Viewing the Key Elements
Key Elements are associated with each Challenge in TBOL. The purpose of the Key Elements is to summarize or provide a list of items from the Challenge that the Officer should be prepared to address when practicing their response and eventually, recording their response in TBOL. (Refer to Image 1.27 below).
Viewing the Script
By <clicking> on the Script button, the Officer can follow along with the Script while viewing the Challenge in TBOL. By following along, while viewing the Challenge, the Officer is employing several of the facets of Adult Learning Theory, a proven theory showing us how adults learn best. They are taking in visual, auditory, and written stimuli that will reinforce the concept they are learning. Text in gray reflects the Challenge that the Officer needs to respond to. Text in white is the Role Modeled response to the Challenge from the Subject. (Refer to Image 1.28 below).
Recording and Practicing Your Response
Once an Officer has reviewed a Challenge and viewed the Insights, Key Elements, and Script, they are ready to practice their response using the Record button. This feature should be used by the Officer, side-by-side with a Peer, FTO, or Training Supervisor. The idea is that the Officer will record themselves responding to a Challenge, and then play back their response for a Peer, FTO, or Training Supervisor. Then, the Officer and their partner can assess not only the Officer’s verbal response, but also non-verbal cues that the Officer is employing. Keep in mind that what the Officer says, and how they look saying it, should be like the behaviors Role Modeled by the Avatar Officer in each Challenge, and meet the Key Elements of each Challenge that the Officer will be evaluated on later in the Course/Module. Beyond the Evaluation, practicing using the Record/Playback feature in TBOL is important because the best way to succeed at anything is to fail at it first and learn from your mistakes. This method of learning has been employed for thousands of years. Sadly, in today’s world we are taught to avoid failure at all costs.
It is critically important to create scenarios where Officers can comfortably fail. Officers can fail safely, without impacting the department or lives, where they can learn from their experience. Practicing in TBOL using the Record/Playback feature allows Officers to fail to succeed, so they don’t fail to succeed.
Human nature embraces failure followed by success. The video game industry is built on repetitive failure building skills that lead to eventual mastery of abstract challenges. Video games take months or years, and millions of dollars, to develop with much of that time being spent to create a narrative to make the gameplay relevant or meaningful.
But opportunities exist in the real world that can be just as challenging, and just as satisfying when they are mastered. Imagine if you could transform the challenges experienced by Officers in your department into training modules where they can build relevant skills by being able to do the right thing every time, with the comfort and safety of playing a simple video game. It would take training to a whole new level. It would be transformative for your agency. TBOL makes it available today, based on technology invented at ProPractice.com.
Through our patented authoring engine – LCMX – LEO Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) enter raw scenario content. These can be angry citizens making complaints, Officers having to deal with problem offenders, or Officers asking tough questions of the public… Anything.
Then, in a matter of minutes, the LCMX does all the work to generate that content into a meaningful learning experience that creates emotional engagement, with no programming, no animation, and no instructional design skills necessary. From LEO SME directly to finished module, in minutes. Literally.
*(Note: There may different buttons available on this page to facilitate practice and recording for review). The Officer can utilize some or all these features. (Refer to Image 1.29 below).
Debriefing (After Action Review)
The Debriefing page at the end of the practice phase of the TBOL Course/Module is presented by the Shift Supervisor avatar and is like an After-Action Review. The Shift Supervisor avatar summarizes the Challenges presented and the Role Model Officer’s response, focusing on what the Role Model Officer did well. There is also a bulleted list provided on this page that presents a condensed list of skills learned. (Refer to Image 1.30 below).
Following the Debriefing, the Officer will proceed to the Evaluation portion of the TBOL Course/Module, that is introduced by a Proctor avatar, who explains the elements the Officer will be required to demonstrate during the Evaluation. (Refer to Image 1.31 below).
Officers will be required to Record their response and have it reviewed in a side-by-side setting with a Peer, FTO, or Training Supervisor. The Officer will proceed through each Challenge recording their response. The Peer, FTO, or Training Supervisor will review each response and check off the elements that the Officer exhibited in their response. These checked elements are used to calculate the Officers score at the end of the course and are presented to the Officer and their Evaluator in the Scoring Summary. Future Versions of TBOL will incorporate scoring of video recorded responses during the Evaluation process by the system. Additionally, a progress report is available, detailing each Officer’s progress in the TBOL system and module scores to FTOs and Supervisors as defined by the Client Administrator for each department. The frequency of the progress report’s generation is also at the discretion of the Client Administrator of each department. (Refer to Image 1.32 below).
At the end of the written test in each TBOL Course/Module, the Officer will be presented with a Scoring Summary for their review. (Refer to Image 1.33 below).
After reviewing the Scoring Summary and upon completion of each TBOL Course/Module, the Officer is returned to the My Courses. (Refer to Image 1.34 below).
Evaluator Role (FTO, Training Supervisor, Shift Supervisor)
The role of the Evaluator in TBOL is to review and document the Scoring Summary from the TBOL Course/Modules completed by Officers and Recruits, along with conducting side-by-side reviews of Recorded Responses.
A progress report is available, detailing each Officer’s progress in the TBOL system and module scores to FTOs and Supervisors as defined by the Client Administrator for each department. The frequency of the progress report’s generation is also at the discretion of the Client Administrator of each department. *(Note: Speak with your agency’s TBOL Client Administrator to receive progress reports, if you are not already receiving them).
Reviewing Recorded Responses
Each recorded response during the Scoring and Evaluation mode in TBOL by be reviewed in a side-by-side setting with the FTO or Supervisor by simply <clicking> on the PLAY button in the Record/Playback window of TBOL. (Refer to Image 1.35 below).
Evaluating Recorded Responses
When evaluating recorded responses in TBOL, the FTO or Supervisor should be watching each recorded response with an eye toward whether the Officer’s response reflected the Key Elements of the Challenge and is consistent with the Insights and verbal skills being taught in the TBOL Course/Module.
A Completeness Summary and Command Presence Summary is available on the Scoring Summary page of each Course/Module in TBOL and reflects the percentage of the Officer’s demonstrated responses, checked off by their Evaluator in TBOL. Each Challenge within the TBOL Course/Module is evaluated and appears in each TBOL Scoring Summary Sub-Category. (Refer to Image 1.36 below).
Documenting VOS Evaluated Responses and Scoring Summary (DOR/Training Files)
In order to ensure that the training provided to each Officer utilizing the TBOL system is documented and legally defensible, it is paramount that the Evaluator, FTO, or Supervisor document Scoring Summary results and critiques of recorded video responses for each TBOL Course/Module. This can be accomplished for recruits/trainees using the department’s DOR (Daily Observation Report) form. For veteran Officer, results can be documented in each Officer’s training file on specific form provided by the department or as a part of annual in-service records. Written test scores and critiques of recorded video responses should also be documented on departmental Corrective Action forms or included in Counseling Statements if a TBOL Course/Module is assigned to provide remedial training or intervention based on an Officer involved incident.