Law enforcement agencies throughout the United States are acutely aware of the shortage of trained officers who can detect and identify illicit radiation sources using preventive radiological/nuclear detection (PRND) instruments. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Domestic Nuclear Detection Office needed new approaches for presenting PRND training most effectively to a larger audience of law enforcement officers anywhere in the country.
We developed an interactive training course addressing the fundamentals of operating a personal radiation device (PRD) and a radiation isotope identification device (RIID). The course begins with an e-Scene, a 2- to 5-minute summary introducing PRND subject matter in a realistic context. Micro games and simulations reinforce key learning objectives, provide supplemental knowledge through branching options, and help officers sharpen and maintain critical radiological/nuclear (rad/nuc) detection skills. The course can be presented in the classroom, or it can be segmented into modules that officers access in-car during duty breaks or during off-duty time.
To emphasize the interactive training course’s key learning objectives, we also developed Immersive Learning Simulations (ILSs) that promote 360° situational awareness while building on a learner’s course knowledge with proper procedures reinforced from playing the PRND micro games. These ILSs simulate realistic incidents that can rapidly escalate in complexity when an officer’s PRD alarms. A variety of radiation sources, along with effects of masking and shielding, lead to multiple outcomes, which encourages users to play, learn and reinforce skills repeatedly. The ILSs also emphasize reach-back for RIID support and readings from the RIID for decision making.
The micro games are scored for timeliness of correct actions. Assessments follow the ILSs to gauge officers’ level of learning as tasks become more complex. Activities throughout the instruction enable learners to self-check their understanding of the material and to review points that requiring extra effort, all in the game context.
An extensible micro game training platform is planned for delivering micro games developed for a wide variety of scenarios, employing functional user interfaces that simulate a full range of commercially available PRNDs. WisdomTools’ approach will improve sustainment training efforts of Federal, state, and local law enforcement organizations, Customs and Border Patrol, U.S. Armed Forces, the U.S. Coast Guard, and other agencies, organizations and businesses having missions to detect and identify radiological and nuclear materials.