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Virtual Training Is the Future

Even when COVID-19 is gone, travel will be dead.

The coronavirus has certainly been a disruptive event across the board. Retail and restaurants in particular are not going to be what they were anytime soon. I also see college and university education systems being disrupted. For one, the cost of a college education has skyrocketed and they are becoming more for the wealthy's children than anyone coming from the middle class. $120,000-$150,000 for a private college liberal arts degree — really?

I've also been thinking about our routine trainings and conferences that have gone virtual. The International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Conference is this coming week and this virtual conference may become much more the norm. When in government, I always had to justify travel by answering the question, "Can this need be met by some way other than travel?" Now, eight years later, I'm thinking it will be hard to justify an answer in the future.

Then I've also thought about the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and how getting to travel back there was always great for meeting people and interacting with other professionals, either in the classroom, dining hall or afterhours ping pong. Since government changes slowly, EMI will likely continue, especially because the feds foot the travel bill.

Which brings me to this, which I received via email earlier this week and is an example of the "now" and the "future" in my mind:

"Denver— November 9, 2020COVID-19 or not, continuing education has changed, and the virtual world is catching on fast!  This month, The Blue Cell, LLC is excited to announce an online Learning Management System (LMS) that allows students to self-pace their learning. For consequence and emergency managers the courses now available will give you an edge up in your field.  The online learning management system offers courses in preparedness and response, organizational leadership and management, and incident management courses. Courses titles vary from ‘Fundamentals of Exercise Design’, ‘Agency Administration in Incidents and Disasters’, ‘Recovery Support Functional Positions’ and more. 

"For the month of November 2020, The Blue Cell celebrates and is humbled by Veterans everywhere by offering a 20% discount on all LMS Courses.  Use the code: Veteran20 at checkout. To read more about these courses and register please visit .

"We are also thrilled to announce the North American Virtual Training and Exercise Conference 2021 is now set for the last week of April 2021. The conference will feature the latest techniques in the virtual training, testing, information management, and facilitation space. Hear from leaders in the industry on techniques, equipment and lessons learned from the past year as we all adapt to this bold new world of interaction.  Using a custom conference platform, avatars and state of the art concepts this conference is designed to share products, services and do it yourself information processes for your future training and exercise needs.

"With 15 speakers and topics, and 20 select conference collaborators and partners we will have an exciting line up for you this coming year. Sign up today at pre-registration pricing of $100.00 per person.

"The Blue Cell is available for customized training, virtual and live delivery of exercises for any jurisdiction looking to capture ‘lessons learned’ or ‘best practices’ from the ongoing COVID response.  The Blue Cell is a by design training, exercise, consulting, and deployment services company focusing on emergency and crisis management in the public and private sectors. 

"Find us at or at 800-866-0840."

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.