ProActive Response Group delivers hands-on training to workplaces, schools, and places of worship to teach people how to react instinctively and effectively to potentially violent incidents like active shooter scenarios and medical emergencies. As former law enforcement officers, SWAT team members, and US Army medics, the founders all have first-hand experience dealing with critical situations, including active shooter events, hostage rescues, and more. ProActive Response Group believes in providing everyday individuals with the necessary skills to respond to an emergency.
After receiving client requests for a video-based version of their training, PRG needed to find a partner to help them produce a series of active shooter training videos by January 1, 2019. After researching a number of potential partners, PRG found ej4. "ej4 provided everything we wanted in a one-stop shop," said Andy Sexton, Founder of ProActive Response Group. ej4's ability to create custom content and manage the product without outsourcing any of the components, remain within their price range, and operate within their timeline was convenient and appealing to PRG. The partnership allowed PRG to maintain ownership of the content and allowed ej4 to apply their training expertise.
ProActive Response Group believes in providing everyday individuals with the necessary skills to respond to an emergency.
ProActive Response Group has been delivering their active shooter training as an in-person training program for many years, and a typical seminar lasts three to four hours. A number of PRG's clients had requested an online version of the training, which was both cost and time-effective made it easier to deploy the training to a larger number of employees. ej4 also provided the capability of deploying the content as SCORM files.
Creating PRG's training as an online module was not meant to eliminate the need for in-person training programs but to make the content easier to deploy to a larger or more dispersed group of people. In this new blended-learning model, PRG could use their in-person training sessions to inform a smaller group of key personnel, then use the video training for everyone else. "The content covered in the videos is exactly the same as the in-person training, it's just not as long," said Andy.
As a blended-learning module, the content can be viewed before a live training session to prepare learners in advance. By using the videos as pre-work, learners can come to the training program with specific follow-up questions. In addition, the content can be used as reinforcement to a live session to review the critical elements of surviving an event like an active shooter.
ej4 has experience in breaking down difficult concepts into smaller, bite-sized modules so learners don't feel overwhelmed. The active-shooter training is very serious, and in some cases, emotional content. By breaking the content down into smaller modules, learners can benefit from a mental break between topics.
At ej4, all of our content is made in a microlearning format. Employees learn best when topics are broken down into roughly 8-12 minute bursts of content. PRG wanted to break down their fundamental training topics into smaller videos and that tied directly into ej4's philosophy of microlearning.
PRG came into the production process already knowing how they wanted their in-person training to be broken down which helped the ej4 production team build an outline. A video recording of one of their live training sessions acted as an important guideline for ej4's writers. One of ej4's project managers attended a live version of the session so she could hear how the learners reacted to the content in a live setting. This allowed ej4's content writers to build in questions and relatable scenarios from the live training that would benefit all learners. This also helped the ej4 production team build a framework for delivering realistic skits in the final videos.
Andy described the script writing process as "simple and painless." ej4 handled all the scriptwriting, but PRG was involved every step of the way and were able to make any changes they wanted. "ej4 was always available for calls to discuss possible changes," said Andy.
ej4's team of designers came up with initial designs for the videos. "We pulled elements and color schemes from their website so the videos looked similar to their company branding," said Mandy Owen, the ej4 Project Manager for PRG. "The way they broke up their content and important points made it easy for us to craft a script for these videos," explains Mandy. "Our challenge was helping to find a balance between necessary and important information and situational elements from the live training, and bringing those together to make a dynamic learning series that would save peoples' lives.
When it came time to film, ej4 hosted PRG for nearly a week in our St. Louis offices to film the scenarios and green screen portions of the videos. The same people who presented in these videos are the same people who present the content live. "The entire staff welcomed us and dropped everything to get our project done," said Andy. "It was obvious that we were a priority to the company and the individuals."
The recording process was a highly emotional and charged environment for the ej4 team since the subject is very serious and frightening to think about. The team at PRG coached ej4 employees through difficult scenes and made sure to offset the heavy subject with fun and friendliness in between takes.
Along with the PRG team, ej4 worked with local SWAT and EMT professionals. They acted in response scenes and provided useful direction for many of the skits. That provided an extra layer of authenticity and realism to help familiarize learners with the real-life response to an active shooter scenario.
"The entire staff welcomed us and dropped everything to get our project done," said Andy. "It was obvious that we were a priority to the company and the individuals."
ProActive Response Group and ej4's partnership benefited both parties by bringing different skill sets to the table. ej4 was able to partner with the PRG subject matter experts that not only offered a great process and procedure for dealing with active shooter threats, but also the medical and first-aid side as well. ProActive Response Group found training experts at ej4 that helped them to deploy their content to reach a broader range of learners. The result of this partnership was an informative and important training series that can help prepare people from all walks of life for real-world scenarios.