Effectiveness of Simulation-Based Learning in Basic Police Training
Simulation-based learning is an important element of police training and further education. In the Bavarian police system (Germany), the curriculum of basic training includes 500 hours of simulation-based training for apprentices. This considerable amount of training necessitates a great deal of facilities and human resources. After a long period of practical experience, we investigated a training evaluation study in cooperation with the University of Würzburg (Germany) to measure the effectiveness of the simulation-based training in Bavarian police officer trainees.
The results of the study indicate that the simulation-based training appears to be both subjectively and objectively effective.
Regarding measures of objective training success, trainees’ performance in factual and applied knowledge significantly increased over time in the simulation-based training.
The largest effects of objective performance scores were found in the practical application of security law, criminal law, police operation competence, and communication/conflict management.
Regarding measures of subjective training success, we found a highly significant increase in effectiveness over time in simulation-based training, with the highest effects found in trainees’ perceived usefulness, individual results, contentment, self-efficacy, and practical application.
To optimize simulation-based learning activities, more constructive feedback by trainers is necessary in terms of information about the individual learning process. Additionally, more standardization across trainers, classes, training modules, and different training centers is necessary.
We conclude that role playing as a form of simulation-based learning is effective in basic police training, even in the long term. When combined with traditional classroom training, such simulation-based training can improve police trainees’ training success.
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