T. Söderström, S. Karp, D. Sjöberg

Umea University (SWEDEN)
When educating new police officers, using scenario training is an integral part of the educational program including a variety of practical exercises where students´ should act as police officers. The aim of this paper is to provide a holistic analysis of empirical data on preparation, implementation and debriefing of a critical incident in the Swedish police education program and conditions provided for developing professional knowing through scenario training. The approach was explorative and the methods used to collect data were observations, video-observations, interviews and surveys. The unit of analysis focused how students acted in and how they made sense of the activities. The analyses were influenced by a sociocultural and dialogical framework, in which learning is seen as a social activity. The results showed that using scenario training in professional education is a complex endeavor in which the social aspects of simulating have to be acknowledged. The analyses showed that the situated activities i.e. preparation, implementation and debriefing have to be linked to each other in way that enables the participants to; first, produce a situation with authenticity and second, to use previous experiences and coordinate them with new ones from the training in order to create good conditions for learning. With the support of and communication with others can students through scenario training, borrow, reshape and gradually develop professional knowing. It is about applying predetermined knowledge and skills but also about "... learning to perform and cope when encountering something for which one does not feel fully prepared" (Hopwood et al., 2014, p. 9). One conclusion is that students need to be challenged, but also get support for coordinating experiences from the situated activities with previous experiences to develop professional knowing. This means acknowledging that the stance of scenario training needs to be longer than just the actual scenario. How situated activities are embedded in the education program and how gaps in students knowing are to be bridged after the scenario training, need to be considered. The main implication of the results is that the use of scenario training in professional education require a specific pedagogy. Aspects that need to be taken into consideration is for example the fact that a simulated situation as scenario training is a hybrid and never a mirror of a professional situation and that creating simulation competence among both teachers and students is important in order to make the scenario work (i.e. how to act in different roles, how to produce authenticity, what is to be included and what is to be ignored). The pedagogy also has to acknowledge that focus needs to be on how to support the participants’ learning and not assume that there is a direct connection between participation and learning. To conclude, the detailed study of scenarios, preparation and debriefing draw attention to how they are linked together and build on each other which is central for understanding the conditions for learning through scenario training in police education.