Value of Feedback for the Development of Investigative Interviewing Skills
Developing the skills to ask the right questions in any investigative interview or investigation is often a long and arduous journey peppered by mistakes that are only discovered when a case cannot be prosecuted or a decision upheld.  Attempting to fast track this learning is the desire of all managers and practitioners. However, traditional learning approaches of talk and chalk are known to be relatively ineffective and learning on the job is risky. Compounded by the fact that interviewing is often conducted alone or in pairs where the experienced practitioner may also have learnt on the job from an unknown source of unknown calibre!
Research shows that we learn best when our emotions are involved and participants are able to be actively engaged in skills acquisition. In this context the benefit of feedback from professionals and the ability to review your own questioning style through the use of videos proves invaluable.
The best way to learn a skill, or how to deal with new scenarios such as interviewing a witness during an investigation, is not just to look at course notes, but to actively listen and role play “mock” cases so that you get a taste of how it would be in the real world.
The value of feedback from professionals means you quickly get to see what went well during the interview and what could be improved. Helping to boost skills development and ensuring that you remember important information.
Active involvement in role plays significantly increases the level of skills acquisition and your ability to remember new skills.  Figures show that when you attend a lecture, you are likely to recall about 30 per cent of it after three days. Whereas when you go through role playing based on case studies and practice what you would need to do in a real investigative interview, you are likely to remember up to 90 per cent of what you learnt after three hours or 70 per cent after three days. It is a very powerful learning method.


A similarly high level of skills transfer is also observed: From lectures it is likely you will transfer up to 10 per cent of the theory you’ve learnt during a course to the job and about the same percentage for demonstration and practice. However, figures are far higher when feedback from professionals and coaching is involved. The percentage rises to an impressive 80 to 90 per cent. This is known as active learning. When people try out things they have learnt, and whether they do well or not, emotions are triggered, and these have a significant effect on how well we remember details.
WISE Workplace engages the use of actors to bring to life the benefits of role plays with investigative interviewing to maximise the skills development and transfer to working life. When you watch our video you will see how the role play and the detailed feedback given maximises learning for the whole group. The video shows a witness being interviewed about where he was in relation to a tow truck driver and the police officer during a discussion between the two. During the feedback session, the actor from Real Play Media, who was the witness tells what he felt was good about the interviewer’s technique and what he got from it.
Expert feedback from our facilitators demonstrates the level of feedback provided to participants. Giving instant feedback on what was appropriate in terms of the questions asked of the witness and what could be better. The facilitator makes it clear what are the relevant questions to ask in relation to proofs and evidence in the scenario and then outlines what is considered “a bad question” and why. The feedback given is constructive and encouraging, just what you need to make learning valuable and lasting.
To find out more about our workplace investigation courses and how they could benefit you in your career, click here.

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