Roleplaying at the FBI Academy

This is the first of occasional news stories from Roleplay Australia. Each story will include links to interesting articles related to training and development, innovative roleplay use, and useful tips on aspects of communication.

This first story includes an article I came across recently about integrated case scenarios used by the FBI. It shows how valuable it is to plan scenarios and use professional roleplayers to secure results.

Be Like the FBI:

Here at Roleplay Australia, we’re interested in research; it’s part of what we do in our acting careers, and to stay up to date with what we do. Every now and then we come across research that provides insights into professional roleplaying.

Like this not-so-recent article written by Chris Whitcomb published in Training and Development Journal in 1999, about Integrated Case Scenarios.

Training complete with bad guys and good buys at the FBI Academy honed agents’ skills so they were ready to hit the street running. The key was integrating courses into one realistic scenario.

It seems that since 1972, the FBI had been putting all new agents through a rigorous training course over 4 months, learning all kinds of things, but they were graduating without a clue how to conduct a complete investigation. That was until 1996 when they reviewed their curriculum and introduced Integrated Case Scenarios. This new system brought the seven different areas of the course together into one comprehensive 14-week long scenario to incorporate all aspects of their training in a simulation of the actual job of an FBI agent. The simulation took an agent from receiving a telephone tip-off through to a simulated trial including things going wrong like they can do in a criminal investigation.

These days Integrated Scenarios are used in successful Management Courses to inter-relate all knowledge and skills to produce graduates who are “more than the sum of their individual competencies”.

Whitcomb outlines the necessary steps to achieve Integrated scenarios for any organisation:

  • Gather trainers from each disciple to bring their unique perspectives
  • Decide on the theme or matrix through which all objectives can be recorded
  • Turn the matrix into the plot line by using an experienced scriptwriter
  • Develop the characters and allocate specific and controllable instructions and dialogues
  • Review the scripts by the team of trainers, and develop assessment tools for recording and tracking progress
  • Prepare the behind-the-scenes props and requirements
  • Engage professional roleplayers who will ensure that all of the roles are convincing and realistic

Improve the results you are getting from scenario-based training, and apply the same process to develop graduates and staff ready to implement new skills with experience and confidence.

If you are looking for script-writers, who also understand the necessary constraints of training and assessment recording and design, drop us a line. Roleplay Australia has deep understanding of compliance, training and assessment and a team of writers and roleplayers with these skills.