2.3 Games-based learning
Games-based learning has, for several decades, been an interesting focus for solving teaching and learning problems. The main drive behind using games is the perceived inherent engagement that children (and adults) find in playing games. Although the learning value of using games has been hotly debated, research has shown that the interface of a serious game can restrict emotional complexity and increase focus on key factors such as emotional recognition, which can contribute significantly to perceived quality of communication and rapport-building (Magoudi et al., 2016). A game-based intervention was, therefore, considered most appropriate for overcoming tricky topics which have been identified in training police in the difficult and highly emotional role of interviewing vulnerable children who are witnesses to a crime.
Despite intensive training, police officers, especially new recruits and early career front line police who may have limited real-life experience of interacting with children, find it difficult to build a rapport with a child-witness and ask appropriate questions. The game is therefore specifically designed to effectively support those learning barriers. Evaluation through pre- and post-game quizzes, suggested that the game did significantly increase the police officers’ understanding of the identified tricky topics.