Keys to Training Excellence: Evidence Based Research Policing Can Use

Been talking about and doing experiential learning and the art of facilitation in police training for well over a decade (closer to 2 decades). "When it comes to police training the method of delivery (not the content) determined the maintenance and flexibility of the skill.” Its about how we teach the programs that matters! Rote learning via PowerPoint lectures and check the box training programs teaching solely skill sets and school solutions must end. Instead we must interleave (BLEND) police training and make it more difficult for cops to learn desirable difficulties) , so they retain the knowledge and better than that, they can apply the knowledge learned to the streets!

In other words those developing cops must stop telling them what to think and do and start teaching them how to think and how to do. Do We Train to Assure Officer Success… or to “Check the Box?”

Force Science has put together a robust body of research (evidence based research) that informs us that the learning produced by self-evaluation and active engagement is resilient, flexible, and creative. Its 4 part series and all of it is linked here.

After decades of assessing law-enforcement training, the Force Science Institute (FS) continues to share some of its most compelling research findings.

In this series, Force Science Institute introduced our research into traditional training methods and identified the circumstances under which simple and complex skills can quickly deteriorate (Part 1). We then detailed our assessment of police training programs from three countries and noted that not a single academy identified in our study had used modern principles of instruction (Part 2). Next, we reported our findings that, even with the involvement of talented instructors, skills taught in “block and silo” programs frequently deteriorated to the point where they were no longer functional (Part 3). And finally, we identified the “clinical” nature of police practice and presented Force Science’s recommendations for advanced learning and performance, including a compilation of Force Science’s Top 10 Training Recommendations (Part 4A).

Now, in the final report of this four-part series, we offer additional recommendations for conducting interdisciplinary, integrated training and introduce readers to promising practices across the profession—including important efforts to expand police training for the development of social and emotional intelligence.

Simply put this is outstanding research. Police trainers and leaders must read this report. We must evolve our training cultures to learning cultures and knock the mechanical check the box feel to our programs of instruction. Stop telling cops what to think and do and start teaching them how to think and do, whole developing the core competencies of sense-making, problem solving, adaptability, metacognition and attention control. Been working at this for years via Elizabeth as Robert Bjork’s UCLA work and via Don Donald Vandergriff and his work with the military. Now policing has the research thanks to you folks and now perhaps we can move this slow moving, slow to adapt field of policing and police training in a positive direction making cops sage and effective. Bravo on this work!

Stay Oriented!

Fred