2 June 2020

CASE: How the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee lets employees train anytime, anywhere with the GPAL App

The Challenge

The Object Security Brigade in The Hague secures government buildings, institutions and other objects in the Netherlands with an increased threat of attacks. Employees must therefore be prepared for countless different situations and always remain trained and knowledgeable of their jurisdictions, criminal procedures and other work-related procedures. It is essential that employees can practise and train their skills and achieve coachings. 

“Our new employees are part of a digital generation. Because of this, you notice a shift in education to more digital means and our brigade has to adapt to this.”
– Doron, manager of Training & Formation within the Object Security Brigade.

During the ‘Marechaussee guard’ course, students are trained to respond to all kinds of situations, and are taught standard procedures. However, when students join the brigade after their studies, they have no practical experience yet and an onboarding process of 5-8 weeks must be completed before the new colleague is allowed to work independently. During that time, the new colleague is paired with an experienced colleague, must still follow courses and will have to pass several exams. 

However, traditional training and classroom education proved to be inefficient most of the time. Relatively younger colleagues (18-25 years) needed to be reached and stimulated in a different way. Instructional videos could provide support in the training programme and reach the target group more effectively. 

The Approach

Earlier this year, GPAL was already (partly) deployed within the Object Security Brigade.  Approximately 181 videos were already made with the goal of facilitating a warm welcome for new employees. Now, however, GPAL is being used to film all training and procedures and offer them to all employees via the mobile app.

 “For example, I can film a firearms procedure in a few minutes and upload it in the GPAL app. New colleagues can now briefly watch a video on the mobile app before they have to perform such a procedure,.”
– Doron

A temporary project team was appointed to check the quality of the videos previously made and to add videos when necessary. In a few weeks, GPAL’s own film crew will assist for a day to help the brigade make new videos. Employees are also encouraged to make their own videos. The fact that the employees are involved and engaged creates more support for the project, as they can make a direct   to the final product. 

“In the long run, we want every colleague to feel involved in making the videos. As Bureau T&V, we first approve the content and quality of the video upon which a video is uploaded in the app. This way, the initiative lies with the employees, yet there is still quality control.” 

Proficiency and exams

Other projects will soon be launched. For instance, the brigade wants to start using GPAL in the 5-star model. As mentioned earlier, entry-level employees have to go through an onboarding process and pass a few exams. These exams consist of online tests and Real-Life Training (RLT) which, for each level the colleague achieves, involves different knowledge and skills. Using the GPAL app, the procedures and working methods can be presented audio-visually. This allows the new colleague to absorb the material better as the procedures are easier to understand. 

Furthermore, the brigade wants to make job-specific workbooks with GPAL instructional videos. For each function, such as Security Officer or Lieutenant, all procedures with corresponding QR code will be placed in an easy onboarding manual. By scanning the QR code with the GPAL app, the right instructional video comes up and the new colleague can easily view procedures. This allows the colleague to go through the onboarding process more independently and faster. 

“Because the workbooks are function-oriented, everyone in the brigade has something to gain from GPAL, whether the Marechaussee Security Officer, Guardsman or Lieutenant. When GPAL is fully rolled out soon, it can be used as a ‘digital buddy’, to introduce the colleague as effectively and efficiently as possible within their new duties.”

The Results

Positive reactions & increased motivation 

GPAL is received very positively, especially by the new colleagues. They find it a pleasant way of learning and many times faster than when explanations are given in person. More experienced colleagues are more difficult to reach, but the Object Security Brigade sees this as a challenge. However, already interesting discussions are seen when younger colleagues’ questions are answered by experienced colleagues. In this manner, everyone in the organisation is more connected. 

” GPAL is seen as a ‘regular working method’ and therefore it is picked up faster. New colleagues continue to use it. The idea is that the experienced colleagues will eventually go along with this new digital work method.”

Another interesting phenomenon occurring at the brigade is a healthy competition between the different teams. Each team wants to make the best videos, get the most likes and watch the most videos. Naturally, this is very positive for the organisation itself. It increases motivation, instructions are watched more often, higher quality videos are made and knowledge retention is higher. 

Improved training 

The use of video instruction also leads to better results. Colleagues are already experiencing faster access to the right information and better retention of information. Students can also learn much more at their own pace, as they can always watch the videos back on the mobile app. In this way, GPAL really is a supportive learning tool. It can help students prepare well for the practical and social aspects of their work, which are then tested in practice.

“I think the enthusiasm for the videos, the range and the fact that students can study independently in their own time and visually see and hear the procedures is the biggest added value of GPAL.”

GPAL may also provide support to team leaders in the future. The best thing would be to make team leaders responsible for keeping track of the level of knowledge within their team. Team leaders can easily use the GPAL management console to see which colleagues are actively engaging with the material and which are not. They can also refer to certain videos if something is still not quite clear. 

Greater reach

The biggest advantage, Doron explains, is the extended reach of the GPAL app. Not only does watching instructional videos resonate better with the target audience, there is also more opportunity to provide everyone with the same information and create more engagement. Especially in times of COVID-19, when many people are working from home, colleagues can still be connected through GPAL. 

“The fact that we can reach the target group faster and more effectively is a really big advantage of GPAL. In terms of innovation, this is very promising. Also with COVID-19 in mind, colleagues can also be properly reached at home.” 

Extend the use of GPAL pre-training

In the future, the Object Security Brigade also wants to deploy GPAL at the KMAR Education and Training Centre (OTC).  The instructors at the OTC KMAR will be able to use the videos from practice through GPAL and incorporate them into the teaching material to prepare students even better for the reality of the workplace. As a result, the pre-training will be more in line with practice and the new colleagues will be more prepared for what things are really like at the brigade. 

“We notice that the training courses don’t always connect well with the job. If we can use GPAL in pre-training, our future colleagues will already know more about how things work in practice during their education. With this, we will ensure a ‘warm transfer’ between the OTC and the Brigade.”

The Object Security Brigade is already seeing many positive results in its cooperation with GPAL. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of interesting projects on the agenda. We are looking forward to the future! To be continued…