Written by Michelle Henderson – March 4, 2021

Why Virtual and Augmented Reality require updated scenarios to match advanced technology.

The second in a series on how VR and AR are enhancing learning when it’s needed.

Within the past few years, VR and AR have steadily moved from early adopters towards the mainstream. Though not applicable for all situations, e.g., traditional simulation and live fire still have a prominent place for group training, the new technologies have arrived at an opportune moment. There is a strong call for revisiting, increasing and improving law enforcement training. With its immersive capacity, VR and AR appear to be game changers in preparing trainees for unexpected threats.

The technology alone, however, cannot ensure well-trained professionals. A comprehensive curriculum must integrate vivid and apt scenarios. This content must evolve side by side with the technical advances, which are rapidly becoming available.

The hour has come for VR and AR

In mid-January, a digital consultant for Aufait, an Indian SharePoint Development Company, posted a list of upcoming “law enforcement tech trends” on Legal Reader, a U.S.-based legal news and commentary aggregate site. The author cited virtual and augmented reality training among the top technologies, along with the Internet of Things, Body-worn cameras, drones, Artificial Intelligence and 5G connectivity[1]:

The author noted that “the realism and flexibility of VR training make it the best training law enforcement trainees can get.” By simulating real-life situations using goggles and headsets, virtual reality police training improves efficiency as well as cognitive response.

The posting added a further application: “Virtual reality methods can also be used to train officers for providing appropriate medical assistance, better connecting police and community … especially in the light of the recent hostility towards officers.”

Matching heightened realism with the right scenarios

Law enforcement, with its split-second judgments, has always been a physical, mental and emotional challenge, but 2020 with COVID-19 and community unrest made it more complicated. Professionals now find themselves under a glaring spotlight for their actions. The Supreme Court decision that removed second-guessing and Monday-morning quarterbacking is being questioned. The law enforcement officer more than ever requires confidence to approach issues like use of force and handling of people in crisis. Not surprisingly, almost everyone agrees that improved training must be a part of the solution. But what constitutes an improvement?

In 2018, two academicians at the University of Copenhagen, Lasse Jensen and Flemming Konradsen, identified situations where VR’s head-mounted displays (wireless headsets) are the most useful for skills acquisition.[2] After their review of 21 experimental studies, they determined that VR seemed to improve learning in three areas:

  1. Cognitive skills related to remembering and understanding spatial and visual information and knowledge.
  2. Psychomotor skills related to head-movement, such as visual scanning or observational skills.
  3. Affective skills related to controlling your emotional response to stressful or difficult situations.

Each of these areas are pertinent to law enforcement skills. VR and AR, with their three-dimensional sensory inputs, provide unprecedented realism for memorable learning. Even though the actual training space may be a small room, officers can respond to calls in a vivid environment, duplicating actual conditions they are likely to encounter.

Of course, the technological effects can only be as instructive as the courseware. Scenarios drawn from authentic events, adjudicated with a clear legal result, can have long-term implications for an officer’s career and the community. That is why choosing the right VR and AR vendor is so critical: as in any educational hardware advance, software is the component that makes it meaningful.

Choosing VR content that fits your training program

For 3D VR to reach its training potential, it must have content that matches the capabilities of proven successful simulation systems. It should have a comprehensive, video content library for all applications: From use-of-force de-escalation to active shooter to person-in-crisis response. These scenarios should have branched outcomes, where officer response modifies the flow of events.  Most important, all content should be created in conjunction with users, e.g., law enforcement, first responders, and correctional and military police partners.

Because of constant changes in what officers confront, your vendor needs to release new content on a regular basis. Ideally, the system itself should also let you author specific customized scenarios to place the trainee in specific environments, such as the following:

  • An office or business park
  • A school with single or multiple entry points as well as a single hall with classroom
  • A multitude of streets options, including urban, rural, highway, etc.
  • Inside and outside of houses
  • A park and picnic areas
  • Jail or prison block
  • Military base

The new InVeris VR-DT: VR based on unparalleled law enforcement simulation

Building immersive systems thus involves more than adapting an innovative technology. With 35 years of experience in simulation hardware and software, InVeris Training Solutions understands the rigors of writing and producing courseware that hundreds of agencies use each day. This know-how has gone into the development of the VR-DT (“Verdict”) virtual reality system. If you have a demand for a geographic setting or training circumstance, it is likely that InVeris VR-DT has either an available scenario or one that can be readily modified.

The trainee can consequently benefit from the most advanced technology, accompanied by the latest law enforcement scenarios.

To explore virtual reality for your agency and how it might meet your training needs, please contact info@inveristraining.com

 

[1] For the full story, see “Law Enforcement Tech Trends to Watch Out for in the Future,” an article by “Prejmith”, a digital consultant for Aufait, an Indian Sharepoint Development Company and Microsoft Gold Partner, posted on Legal Reader at : https://www.legalreader.com/5-law-enforcement-tech-trends-to-watch-out-for-in-future

[2] See Jensen, Lasse, and Flemming Konradsen. “A Review of the Use of Virtual Reality Head-Mounted Displays in Education and Training.” Education and Information Technologies, vol. 23, no. 4, July 2018, pp. 1515–29. Springer Link, doi:10.1007/s10639-017-9676-0. The study is quoted in Ffiske, T. P., The Immersive Reality Revolution: How virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) will revolutionise [sic] the world (2020). Ffiske runs Virtual Perceptions, a UK-based website highlighting trends in Immersive Reality (VR, AR, MR) at https://www.virtualperceptions.com