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Teaching Emergency Management through Hands-On Learning

Teaching Emergency Management through Hands-On Learning

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By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

Note: This blog article was originally published on EDM Digest.

Stanford University professor Albert Bandura once observed: “Many different theories have been advanced over the years to explain why people behave as they do.”

According to some education scholars, some people prefer a learning style that that is tactile in nature. They use their hands to physically learn how to do something.

For example, doctors, nurses and paramedics learn how to perform certain tasks through kinesthetic learning. These processes would be particularly beneficial for reaching more sections of the public who are learning about emergency management and appropriate preparation.

Current Emergency Management Education Uses Words and Images

Currently, many emergency managers use flyers, brochures and social media memes to educate the public about how to effectively prepare for an emergency. For instance, the state of Virginia uses brochures to educate the public about emergency measures. Distributing these flyers at public events has had a beneficial effect on educating the public for an emergency.

New Education Techniques Needed for Today’s Millennial Generation

In the last few years, education scholars have examined how to teach millennial students who grew up with computers and the Internet. Many of these millennials are not interested in reading information. They prefer to learn quickly by other methods.

One article by Wisconsin education writer Mary Bart suggests that instructors should engage their students by using multimedia sources. But learning by social media might not provide enough information.

It can be difficult to remember, for example, that the recommended household amount of water storage is based on how many people and pets live on the premises. Further, it can be hard to recall exactly what items someone should have on hand in an emergency if they’re not already emergency-savvy.

Information found on social media sites certainly helps the learning process, but it may be necessary to train the public by other means.

Using the Kinesthetic Learning Style to Your Advantage

While flyers, brochures and social media have worked well for some learners, emergency managers need to come up with more creative approaches to reach other sections of the public. Kinesthetic learning refers to the idea that doing something physically can help students to learn and retain information better than by some other means.

Taking kinesthetic learning into consideration, it would be beneficial for emergency managers to set up booths at fairs or other public events to physically teach the public about emergency management preparations. Allowing people to physically determine how much water they need to prepare for an emergency would make a lasting impression and potentially save lives.

About the Author

An emergency medical technician and a political scientist, Allison focuses on Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services policy. Allison has taught at the undergraduate level since 2010. Prior to teaching, Allison worked in a level-one trauma center emergency department and for a member of Congress in Washington, D.C. She holds four master’s degrees in Emergency Management, National Security Studies, International Relations, History, a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She is trained in water safety instruction and large animal emergency rescue. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society and also serves as the Advocacy Coordinator of Virginia for the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians.

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