This study evaluated the effectiveness of the DNA Evidence Collection computer-based training (CBT) instruction, comparing the CBT technology to the traditional platform-based instruction, specifically the beginning level module of the DNA Evidence Collection CBT training using the Lexington-Fayette Urban County (Kentucky) Division of Police.
A computer-based curriculum for training officers in DNA collection techniques was developed by the Eastern Kentucky University Justice and Safety Center. The beginning and advanced version of “What Every Law Enforcement Officer Should Know About DNA Evidence” was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, Office of Science and Technology and utilizes interactive scenario training to educate officers. The beginning module focuses on issues that arise for the first-responding law enforcement officer and/or evidence technician. This study evaluated the effectiveness of computer-based training (CBT) technology compared to traditional platform-based instruction, specifically the beginning level module, describes the DNA Evidence CBT, outlines the evaluation and findings, and discusses the implications. In evaluating the effectiveness of the DNA Evidence Collection-Beginning Level CBT module, pre- and post-instruction knowledge tests and attitudinal surveys were developed. The evaluation was conducted using the Lexington-Fayette Urban County (Kentucky) Division of Police. The tests were designed to determine the officer’s knowledge before and after instruction. Study results indicated that both lecture and computer-based training resulted in increased knowledge about DNA evidence, the amount of learning that occurred did not differ significantly across the two modes of instruction, lack of familiarity with computers did not hamper participants in the computer-based training from learning the material, and officers were generally positive about computer-based training, both before and after course completion. Computer-based training is seen as an effective method of instructing officers on the use of DNA evidence. The results suggest that this mode of instruction may be a desirable option for law enforcement agencies with limited resources. An identified limitation of the study was that the sample size was small and not very diverse. Future research was recommended in determining if this approach to training worked equally well for rural and urban police departments at their respective locations and with the resources available to them. References
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