Police training in investigative techniques: An instrumental evaluative case study of a blended learning course and its impact

Dr Peter Shipley1

1Ontario Provincial Police, Orillia, Canada, 2Canadian Association of Police Educators, Chilliwack, Canada

With over $1 billion being spent on police training in Canada, it has been well established blended learning can be a cost-effective option of reducing the cost of training; however, does the content of the training effectively transfer to field operations? The problem is it is not known if the investigative training being provided is perceived as being transferable to investigations in the field. Qualitative studies of police investigative blended learning, which could inform improvement efforts, are limited and little is known about how synchronous and asynchronous blended learning environments impact the performance of police. This presentation will review how frontline police officers perceive the applicability of the investigative blended learning they received and how it relates to other law enforcement environments. The theoretical framework for this instrumental evaluative case study focused on Kirkpatrick’s model of assessment and Bloom’s revised taxonomy. The research questions explored the experiences of police officers who completed the blended learning investigative course and how it influenced the actions and the decisions they made. The findings indicated the participants perceived the General Investigative Techniques course as transferable to roles as investigators in the field. The findings also indicated course candidate selection; the timing of when officers receive initial investigative training, impacts of virtual training, and the need for refresher training are important elements to consider when implementing this kind of training.


Dr. Peter Shipley is a 29 year member of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and has served as the Chief Instructor, General Patrol Training Unit at the OPP Academy since 2008. He has overseen the implementation of frontline courses which includes 90 on site and deployed virtual learning courses annually. Dr. Shipley currently serves as the Chief Instructor of the Strategic Research and Planning Unit and has also served as the President of the Canadian Association of Police Educators, General Chair of State and Provincial Police Academy Directors (SPPADS) of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and as the President of the Police Fitness Personnel of Ontario.  Dr. Shipley has served on numerous police training and advisory committees including the CVE Advisory Group for the IACP/DHS. Dr. Shipley has degrees from University of Toronto, Brock University as well as Queens University, School of Business, Operations Leadership program and served as an adjunct Professor at Georgian College. He received his doctoral degree from the American College of Education in Education Leadership. In January, 2019, he was bestowed with the Order of Merit of the Police Forces for his contributions to police training in Canada by the Governor General of Canada.