Published On: November 21, 2023By
How Training Helps Prevent Sexual Abuse - Podcast 68 - Talented Learning

EPISODE 68: How Training Helps Prevent Sexual Abuse

Aaron Lundberg - CEO Praesidium - Talented Learning Show

Aaron Lundberg, President & CEO, Praesidium

In my journey as a learning systems analyst and consultant, I’ve been privileged to meet many leaders who leverage the power of online education to make the world a better place. Aaron Lundberg, President and CEO of Praesidium, Inc., is certainly one of those people.

For more than 20 years, Aaron has combined training with a variety of related services to help organizations prevent sexual abuse among children and others who may be at risk.

No matter what your role is as a learning professional, I think you’ll find helpful lessons in Aaron’s story. So join us as we dig deeper on this Talented Learning Show episode…


How Training Helps Prevent Sexual Abuse – KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • For some training companies, instructional content development and delivery are crucial, but they’re not the whole solution. This is the case at Praesidium, where assessments, background screening and consulting services work in concert with training to prevent sexual abuse.
  • When serving diverse audiences, training businesses must be able to customize, deliver and manage content. This makes it possible to enter new markets and support them effectively and efficiently over time.


How Training Helps Prevent Sexual Abuse – Q&A HIGHLIGHTS

Let’s start at the top, Aaron. Could you tell us a bit about your company?

Sure. Presidium helps organizations prevent sexual abuse of children or vulnerable adults they serve. We work with any organization where someone is put in charge of another’s welfare, to help manage that risk. And God forbid, if an incident occurs, we help them respond in a transparent, compassionate way.

For more than two decades you’ve delivered online learning to help prevent sexual abuse. But you don’t call Praesidium a training company. Why is that?

Well, we got started about 35 years ago, when a young boy in our area was molested by a volunteer. The organization wanted to understand what was behind this, to ensure it wouldn’t happen again. But existing research didn’t offer any answers.

So they used root cause analysis to investigate about 400 sexual abuse court cases. And they found eight risk factors that form the framework for what we now call our safety equation. In other words, to adequately prevent sexual abuse, organizations must evaluate and implement safety protocols for all eight of these areas.

Training is a particularly important part of this equation. But it’s only one part.


For example, we’ve learned that offenders typically operate in predictable ways, and they rarely go from zero to 60. Instead, they move through a grooming process. This means if we train people on how to spot and respond to grooming patterns, it’s possible to avoid abuse.

There are several other factors, as well. Organizations need to have the right policies, monitoring and feedback practices in place. But training is core, because if you don’t train your employees on the policies you’re supposed to follow, or how to monitor those situations, it’s all for naught.

So tell us about your academy. What does the curriculum look like?

That has evolved. 35 years ago, all of our training was in person. But we soon realized that after we delivered training, a new person would eventually join an organization, so that person wouldn’t be empowered to prevent sexual abuse because they missed the training. And over time, a whole team of people would be out of the loop.

So when online training took off, we were the first to develop and implement an online course for abuse prevention. We still do on-site training. It’s still relevant. And we have a train-the-trainers program, where we teach trainers to facilitate sessions, using on video-based training we’ve produced. But we also offer a full suite of online training content.

I see…

We also need to customize content for various industries. For instance, training in churches is different from foster care agencies. And to ensure that learning sticks, people need to feel like it’s designed just for their needs. So we’ve developed many industry-specific courses.

Also, training is more effective if it’s role-based. So if you’re a board member, you have a different role in how to prevent sexual abuse than an organization leader or a frontline supervisor…

And you’re constantly trying to tie those course variations back to the eight root-cause factors in a holistic way while adapting it to specific industries and roles?

That’s right.

Now, I also know you’re expanding to other regions of the world. How does globalization fit in?

Yes. We’re doing some work in Central and South America, as well as with French Canadian clients. But as we grow, creating localized content and making our LMS accessible to administrators in other regions and languages is a challenge.

So, how do you decide what kind of content you’ll develop for each audience?

Good question. It’s partly based on client preference. For example, we do a lot of work with private schools. They love in-person training, and it works fairly well for them because they have a specific training cycle. Before school starts, their teachers are present for in-service training. By dovetailing with their schedule, we can train about 90% of their team members.

Makes sense…

But it’s also based on a client’s frame of mind. We put organizations into three camps when it comes to their mindset about how to prevent sexual abuse — complacency, compliance or commitment. We call it the journey of the three Cs:

  • Complacent organizations are in denial. In-person training tends to be more effective there, because you can tell stories. You can answer objections. You can talk to people at a more human level.
  • Organizations in the compliance camp know they need to manage this. At a leadership level, they get it. They’re going to reinforce training content.
  • And for the commitment camp, online training is a much more effective way to ensure we’re getting the right content to the right people at the right time.

So determining what we create is a little bit of art and science. It depends on the state of the organization, what industry they’re in, where they’re located and the role of each individual.

So let’s talk about the technology you use to author and deliver all of this content. You mentioned an LMS. What other elements are in your ecosystem and how are they integrated?…


…For complete answers to this question and more about the role that training plays in helping to prevent sexual abuse, listen to the full 30-minute podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Google Podcasts, on Spotify, or right here on our site.


Learn More:

Find out about Praesidium’s learning platform, Thought Industries:
Check out the vendor profile, product review, case studies, and more in our Learning Systems Directory.

Or visit the Thought Industries website.


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About the Author: John Leh

John Leh is Founder, CEO and Lead Analyst at Talented Learning and the Talented Learning Center. John is a fiercely independent consultant, blogger, podcaster, speaker and educator who helps organizations select and implement learning technology strategies, primarily for extended enterprise applications. His advice is based upon more than 25+years of learning-tech industry experience, serving as a trusted LMS selection and sales adviser to hundreds of learning organizations with a total technology spend of more than $100+ million and growing. John would love to connect with you on Twitter or on LinkedIn.
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