Online CBRN Awareness Training – Five Lessons Learned

Bryan L. Lee
July 23, 2015

This article originally appeared in Freedom From Fear magazine, published by the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute.

Online CBRN Awareness TrainingThe Challenge
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) incidents pose a rising threat to global safety and security. Many industries such as mining, pharmaceuticals, and health care rely on these materials to make the products or deliver the services all of us use every day, but these same materials can cause great harm in the event of an industrial accident or deliberate misuse. Unfortunately, many countries do not have the resources to prepare themselves adequately to respond to this threat. Equally troubling is the fact that international training and assistance programs are also under budgetary pressure, with many lacking the resources to develop the sustained follow-on training and cooperation necessary to address this threat fully.

The Solution
One way to address this challenge is through technology. We are living in the midst of an education revolution. For example, Stanford University in the United States recently offered a so-called Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) in computer science to any student with an internet connection. The result was an astonishing class enrollment of more than 150,000 students from around the world. Such online training seems almost tailor made to address the challenges mentioned above. Training platforms and software are free to use for both trainers and recipients, and publicly available content sharing services such as YouTube or WordPress allow training materials to be hosted indefinitely at no cost to the user or the developer. Finally, online formats allow for easy and centralized modification and updating of course materials. This ensures materials are current and conform to international best practices.


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