A new ‘immersive’ video game is being used to train law enforcement officers how to obtain electronic evidence from internet service providers and social media platforms. The game, which features a scenario based on a terrorist attack, is designed to give officers a better understanding of how to conduct online investigations by tackling the diversity of rules and expectations when requesting information from providers in different countries. Europol is supplying the game to officers in Europe and elsewhere. The game was developed through a collaboration of Europol’s SIRIUS cross-border data access project and the Centre of Excellence in Terrorism, Resilience, Intelligence and Organised Crime Research (CENTRIC), which is based in the UK’s Sheffield Hallam University. CENTRIC is engaged in a number of projects that use ‘gamification’ to improve the training of law enforcement specialists.
I find that many people have an aversion to learning about complexity, even if their job involves dealing with complex systems and situations. Training courses that cover all the necessary detail are often considered to be boring. This leads to frustration amongst the students, even though success in their job depends on them mastering all the detail. Gamification, which is a fancy way of saying that learning can be turned into a game, offers a way to overcome this hurdle by holding the student’s attention for longer whilst simultaneously monitoring how well they have absorbed the content. Gamification for professional education has been made easier by technological advances that reduce the cost of developing games for a much smaller number of users.
My own association, the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG) has been experimenting with gamified education about telecoms risk management, and encouraged viewers of RAG Americas Online to compete to top the global leaderboard for a demonstration game. I expect we will experiment with more learning games that aim to teach telecoms professionals about specific aspects of risk and assurance.
You can read Europol’s press release about game-based training here.