We have obtained Learning Enhancement and Innovation funding through the University of Northampton for our project: ‘Virtually Ready: The Impact of Virtual Reality (VR) on Student Knowledge Acquisition, Application, and Retention in Policing Scenarios.’ The purpose of the funding is to enable projects in the field of pedagogic development, research, and innovation. The priorities for our project are to use VR to provide a student-centred active learning opportunity by using an immersive learning environment to improve retention, progression, and continuation.
In the safety of the classroom, student participants will be provided with the opportunity to actively engage and improve their critical decision-making skills in less frequently found policing scenarios and multiple variations of more common scenarios. With the technology being used, the remaining students in the classroom will also engage in every situation whilst not being the actual ‘officer on the scene.’
The overall goal is to better prepare students for the ‘real’ world of policing. VR scenarios can present to the students a wide range of offenders, witnesses and victims in scenarios which are all dynamic and can all be modified on the fly. The VR scenarios provide an opportunity for feedback and discussion, in a safe learning environment.
Much of the previous research focuses on science subjects at university and vocational training and there is not much research evidence in the use of VR in policing – both in practice and higher education. This month we will be focused on finalising our research ethics application, survey, and finalising dates for next month’s launch of our first session with students.