The purpose of using videos of actual events in training should be to provide the opportunity for participants to learn from the experiences of brother and sister officers to best prepare themselves for future calls. It should not be to scare people, or as a gut check or reality check with recruits to “see if they want to be here”.
Video review should not be about the officer in the video unless you are sitting down with that officer to review the video and debrief the incident with them. The debriefing of the video should be about the participants in the training and enhancing their sense making and decision-making skills to prepare them for similar types of calls in the future. This is about feed forward for the people participating in the training, not about feedback or Monday morning quarterbacking regarding the officer in the video.
In this framework there is rarely ever a reason to show participants the whole video up front. Once they have seen the video in its entirety, they know the outcome and all discussions afterwards will be influenced by hindsight bias as they already know the outcome. A more effective way to use videos is to stop them at each decision point and discuss what the training participants are seeing and hearing, their interpretation of what they are seeing and hearing and options regarding what they could do to influence the situation at this point. Notice I said, “what they could do” not “what they would do”. “Could” opens the door for discussion, dialogue, debate, and options. “Would” implies there is one right answer. The ideas should be coming from the participants, not the trainer or supervisor who is there to facilitate the discussion, not lecture on what they think the officer in the video should have done.
Properly breaking a video of an event that last 2 minutes might take 1 to 2 hours and should interleave tactics, communication, policy, and the law. This might be spread over two weeks of shift briefings when done by a frontline supervisor or several classes with a recruit class. It will likely require people do research into policy and legal authorities and if done properly will ignite discussion in the classroom or briefing room as well as in the time between the facilitated discussion sessions.
When used effectively videos can help teach sense making, decision making, critical thinking and articulation and are an excellent opportunity to interleave multiples topics into the discussion. When used ineffectively they can create fear and hesitancy and potentially set people up for failure on the street.
It is not about how many videos can you show in your training, it is about how you utilize the videos that you do show to facilitate learning.
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