Skip to main content

CASE STUDIESTransforming lecture training at a police call-taker organization


Harper Learning brought low-engagement training to life for an emergency police call-taker organization with multiple jurisdictions.


The client was looking to revitalize their training program – a 4-week, lecture-heavy program of 12-hour days. They were having trouble achieving their completion rate goals, as well as long-term retention in the organization. Harper Learning worked with the client to design a solution to make their complex topics easier to understand, less lecture-based, and more engaging.

I worked closely with Cara for about nine months on a very complex project and I applaud her on being a phenomenal instructional designer for both classroom based and eLearning programs. She had no experience with the topic area that we were creating a robust program around, yet she was able to pull out the necessary details to help make the materials engaging and interactive to the learners involved. She has a real knack for creative and educational solutions that astounded me several times over and I enjoyed watching the program being built.

Jalene Lumb, North American Director, Project & Program Management – Global Knowledge

The Obstacle

For this client, we faced a unique challenge. The training needed to teach the learners how to answer the phone in emergency situations for a police organization. They needed to ask the right questions in a way that kept the caller calm and on the line, figure out quickly what was going on and exactly where the caller was, and record that info so the dispatcher could send out whoever was needed.

The organization’s existing training revolved around learning how to quickly and accurately process calls in one jurisdiction, but there were over 20 additional jurisdictions with their own sets of anomalies. We needed a way for the learners to process a huge amount of info in a way that was truly memorable. Combined with this difficulty was the fact that the content was very specific and filled with exact, step by step procedures to follow in hundreds of different police incidents that the learners would be taking calls about.

Our Solution

We recommended a combination of an online, interactive game experience reinforced in a collaborative learning classroom environment.

The final result was a huge set of classroom training materials for a four-week, full time intensive training program. Each day used new online and classroom-based game materials, and included time for the learner to reflect on their learning, individual challenges, and action steps at the end of each day to reinforce the learning. 

We worked closely with a team of subject matter experts to discover the critical concepts, and then mapped out a learning plan to build on prior knowledge and incorporate hand-on practice using real-life simulated scenarios. Our final product included facilitator and participant guides, supporting documentation, in-class interactive learning games, card decks, classroom-based game materials, wall maps to reinforce learning and for group and team learning activities, scenario booklets, and slide decks. 

A particular highlight of the training was an innovative, travel-themed game that used video guidance, self-directed learning, and in-class group activities and discussion to teach about the multiple jurisdictions.

“The project was successful due to Cara’s organized nature, the way she paid attention to the details and how she was able to see the big picture all at the same time. I really appreciated her professionalism and determination. Cara led her team, and collaborated with ours, very effectively. I was able to step back knowing the project would come together. There were several challenges we encountered throughout the project and she never let me or the team down throughout all obstacles and met very tight, fixed deadlines.”

Jalene Lumb, North American Director, Project & Program Management – Global Knowledge

The client was extremely happy with the new training. Though they were initially skeptical about how games in an adult environment would work, once they tried our approach in their classroom, they were hooked. A once stressful and slow training now provides enhanced learning in a supportive environment, and participants are having fun!