VIDEO GAMES: Not just jumping for coins

As another tool for the law enforcement instructor, the simulation can supplement real-life training

     "Simulations are one level of training that you can insert between the gap of talking about it in class and possibly going out to a shoot house once and awhile," he says. Sharp suggests instructors should see students demonstrating their knowledge through their actions. In other words, their actions in the simulation should be in line with the lesson's intent.

     "Trainees have to show they can apply policies [in a simulation] so that instructors can actually judge students to see if they, in fact, understand the department's policies."

     Alternatively, he recommends that the instructor insert himself into the game by playing against his students to reinforce the learning objectives.

It's fun too

     "There are a lot of things that video games are effective at teaching that are hard to teach at other venues," mentions Van Lent.

     With the technology available to the hundreds of thousands of people currently playing online games, the connectivity for law enforcement is available. "We're lacking the transition over to the formal training environment," says Sharp.

     The computer-based training simulation cannot, nor should it, hold precedence over physical training. "We're not looking to replace training; we're looking to improve training," says MacDonald. He adds that "technology for the sake of technology isn't a solution."

     "The other thing I found is that people like doing these things because it's fun, but the deal is that they are learning while they are doing it," says Sharp.

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