Architects of Learning

Building a learner-centred environment for travel risk training


The last few years has been a challenging time for everyone including Edson Tiger helping clients manage the trials and tribulations of post-Covid travel regimes and the impact of Covid on travel health planning.

These recent challenges have also had an impact on our training delivery. The demand for travel risk training from clients did of course decrease, although not completely fall away. Some demand remained but at the same time clients were generally reluctant to engage in traditional face to face training.

This led us to re-think our approach. It is fashionable these days to talk about training architects and architecture rather than trainers, course plans and classrooms.  The aim being to create flexible blended training systems more able to meet client needs, and often referred to as learner-centred as opposed to classroom-centred learning environments.

In practical terms we have developed our own online learning management platform known as the Edson Tiger Academy. This hosts a range of travel risk training options including:

  • Our entry level course “Intelligent Travel” which provides a basic e-learning package aimed at all travellers, which takes an hour to complete.
  • Our Complex Environment Awareness Training (CEAT) courses, for those going to complex and high threat environments. We have developed two online versions: CEAT A and CEAT B.

The CEAT B, or Basic course, takes 4 to 5 hours to complete and consists of a series of online video sessions.

The CEAT A, or Advanced course, is a longer fully blended learning package taking 10 to 12 hours to complete. As well as video sessions the four modules contain learner tasks, real world learning exercises and case studies. There are also optional sessions available on specialist subjects along with reference material and background reading.  What makes this course truly blended is the provision of 2 live webinar tutorials providing learners with an opportunity to virtually meet as a group with an Edson Tiger trainer. This is therefore a unique and comprehensive learning package.

The Learning Management System is also designed to allow us to customise content for specific users by adding or removing specific elements or creating bespoke content.  A recent example was the development of a customised CEAT A package for Cricket Australia’s Team Security Managers. This included the addition of an extra module containing several bespoke sessions on tournament and venue security and safeguarding.

Since November 2021 we have seen an up-tick in demand for face to face training in its own right but also for hybrid courses delivered partly online but with a face to face element too; the latter covering the more practical based content such as trauma care and first aid, tactical driving or full simulation/ scenario training.

While we expect to see a continued growth in demand for face to face training as things return to the new normal, online and hybrid training solutions, with a mix of online and face to face elements will continue to appeal to organisations where learners desire flexibility, cannot attend a residential package, are remote workers or perhaps located across different countries and time zones, or where cost is the over-arching priority.

Another major influence on us has been the conflict in Ukraine.  We have recently been delivering a programme of HEAT courses for media personnel travelling to the conflict zone. For some major media organisations such as the BBC this is a well-trodden path but for other organisations, it may be less so. However, the death or injury of more than six journalists in Ukraine has brought home the nature of the threat from conventional warfare and with it the importance of developing new and bespoke content.

Media training also brings with it an extra and unique dimension of course. A journalist’s first instinct is to run towards, not away from, a newsworthy incident which raises the issue of risk versus benefit and how to get the balance right; when to go forwards and when to withdraw. It’s a more complex decision-making process and we have worked with media staff to develop a practical decision making model that they can apply in the field.

We also had to adapt some content, based on our experience there, for example increasing the emphasis on understanding the nature of indirect fire, the identification of mines and minefields and responding to small arms fire.  It has also re-emphasised the importance of situational and tactical awareness. There have been a number of incidents involving media teams coming under small arms fire and finding themselves stranded or exposed, unable to extract safely and return to their vehicles. The challenge here is helping them develop what we call a ‘tactical mindset’, where they are thinking of response options as the local threat level increases.

  • Where do we park our vehicles when out on the ground? Are they exposed or protected by cover?
  • How far will we have to move on foot? If we have to extract under fire is that an acceptable distance.
  • What are our route options and does the route allow for the effective use of hard and soft cover?

These the practical considerations requiring a change in mindset and attitude.

So, as always world events shape and change the way we do our business, deliver our training and develop our content.


David Curran MA CSyP FSyL Chartered CIPD

Director, Edson Tiger