The Power of eLearning: How Online Courses Shape the Justice System

Posted by The Carey Group on
<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >The Power of eLearning: How Online Courses Shape the Justice System</span>

As populations grow and community needs change, the demands of justice professionals often shift and increase. These demands and expectations directly contribute to the work environment, which, in turn, impacts employees. Training—onboarding, routine, and advanced/specialized skills—offered throughout a justice professional’s career directly affects recruitment, retention, and outcomes.

In April of 2023, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) hosted an event with the United States Attorney General, law enforcement, and community leaders from around the nation to discuss strategies and practices that enhance police recruitment and retention. This event resulted in a summary document titled “Recruitment and Retention for the Modern Law Enforcement Agency,” which provides guidance and recommendations for justice professionals to consider alongside existing strategies and evidence-based practices.

Training, specifically reimagining police academies to “accurately reflect officers’ day-to-day duties,” was one of several focus areas at the 2023 event and in the summary document. The summary document highlights the importance of community partners, trainee participation in outreach and recruitment activities, trainer selection that aligns with new recruits, appropriate field training officers, and trainee mentors. The summary document also recommends short-term and long-term strategies, including strategies and solutions specific to training needs.

Training is an essential part of the justice profession, so fulfilling and tracking employee training expectations requires an intentional strategy and long-term investment by employers. Fortunately, as technology advances, workplace training can be conveniently and affordably delivered through eLearning courses and web-based learning management systems.

Cost-effective and Time-saving 

eLearning is a cost-effective way to deliver employee training primarily because it can greatly reduce overhead costs. These cost savings include travel for presenters and employees, training space, content rights, printing costs, meals/drinks, and other incidentals. Many times, to meet the various schedules of justice professionals, in-person training must be provided over the course of several days, which means costs are multiplied.  

With eLearning, most in-person costs are spared, with exceptions being the cost of accessing the courses, covering staff time, and printing related materials. Additionally, significant time savings are achieved through online learning because instructors and participants do not have to travel. The latter is beneficial to justice professionals because the reduced amount of time spent getting to and from training locations allows staff to maximize the amount of time spent on work priorities, therefore improving productivity and time management.  

Convenience and Flexibility

One of the highlighting benefits of online/eLearning is the flexibility to complete training at any time, for the most part, at any place. For employees working various shifts throughout the week, the convenience of logging in and participating in training, required or otherwise, at a time that works best for them is a huge perk. 

Everyone learns differently, and some people tend to learn better when they’re empowered to pace their learning. In addition to providing flexibility, self-paced learning gives the learner autonomy, allowing them to identify and manage the appropriate amount of time needed to fulfill training requirements. 

Interactive and Engaging Content 

Keeping people’s attention during training is not always easy. eLearning can feature a variety of interaction levels, meeting the needs of a variety of learners. Some online courses merely require participants to listen to or watch the training, while others require participants to click prompts to move through the various sections. Online courses that incorporate interactive and captivating content, such as videos, audio, games, and retention exercises, are attractive to a wide range of learners by providing reflection and knowledge-testing opportunities while also creating an immersive learning environment. 

A philosopher once said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.” Interactive and engaging eLearning content builds buy-in, recall, knowledge, skills, and competencies. A few considerations when creating eLearning content:  

  • Easily accessible courses 
  • Brief (15–30 minutes) training sessions 
  • Certificate options 
  • Relevant to lives and work (familiar/relatable scenarios) 
  • Complements resources available in the workplace 
  • Aligns with mission, values, interests, and ambitions 
  • Post-training quiz 

Retention and Skilled Professionals

eLearning benefits everyone, from the employee to the agency to the community. From a retention standpoint, eLearning expands opportunities for employees to gain, sharpen, and strengthen skills and competencies at the beginning of their careers and throughout their time with the agency. Employees value agencies prioritizing professional development and encouraging staff to participate in routine and specialized training opportunities.  

Employees who build new skills through training increase their ability to understand policies, practices, and procedures. Training increases productivity, improves work culture and efficiencies, improves internal and external relations, and is critical for a competitive workforce. It is not uncommon for employees to seek employment with agencies that regularly promote and support training, especially those that encourage and support specialized/advanced training and certification opportunities. With eLearning courses, agencies are better equipped to offer a variety of training for staff of all levels.  

eLearning can also help reduce turnover, an expensive reality for employers. It allows employers to support employees at every stage and at any time of their employment. While the employer supplies an initial and ongoing investment in training, the returns that agencies will experience typically outweigh the costs. By investing in training, employers invest in their employees, their agency, and their community.  

When employees are supported in their professional development, they are less likely to leave/seek employment elsewhere. With employee retention, agencies see improvements in operations, performance, and outcomes. Additionally, the fiscal impact that occurs when an employee leaves—from paying overtime to cover shifts to the costs related to recruiting, hiring, and onboarding again—will be reduced. 

Training reduces employee and agency stress, prevents and reduces mistakes, and can lead to career advancement. When we learn, we’re better able to change our mindset and way of doing things, improving outcomes for individuals, organizations, and communities. 

Access to Expert Instructors

It is imperative to connect staff with tailored on-demand training sessions developed by experts and designed to enhance the skills, knowledge, and competencies of individuals working in the justice profession. Of equal importance is ensuring staff have access to expert instructors, especially the experts who developed the training.  
Combining high-quality eLearning and access to expert instructors increases employees' ability to comprehend and retain what they’ve learned. Expert eLearning content creators and instructors are at the heart of Empower Community Care eLearning Courses. Participants can learn and train on their own time, choosing from a range of on-demand courses with proven results designed to meet the needs of organizations and professionals looking to enhance their knowledge base and skills. All self-paced eLearning courses from Empower Community Care feature:  

  • Evidence-based practices (EBP) for positive behavior change, risk reduction, and improved outcomes. 
  • Research-backed strategies for effective client oversight and supervision. 
  • “Do’s and Don’ts” for effective client oversight. 
  • Access to expert instructors.  

Working closely with agencies and employees, expert instructors can zero in on specific agency needs, allowing the ability to tailor training to meet those needs.  This approach also allows for a reassessment of eLearning training needs as circumstances and expectations change over time. 


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Connect with an eLearning Expert 

Strengthen your organization, improve your leadership skills, and enhance your ability to implement and maintain healthy, productive organizational strategies by contacting a Carey Group consultant who can connect you with effective, research-based online training, policies, practices, and leadership tools. 

Decades of experience demonstrate that aligning justice systems around evidence-based policies and practices offers the greatest promise of success. Carey Group offers services and products for justice system professionals, from evidence-based consulting to interactive workbooks that help improve the mental health and lives of people involved in the justice system.  

Carey Group’s evidence-based training and consulting services address the needs of justice system and behavioral health professionals. Training is an essential tool for keeping staff, supervisors, leadership, and stakeholders up to date with emerging knowledge and expectations for improved outcomes. Carey Group offers in-person, online, and self-directed courses on evidence-based practices, motivational interviewing, core professional competencies, case planning and management, continuous quality improvement, coaching, and the use of behavior-change tools and supervisor resources.