New mobile app ups the game in training Singapore prison officers

(From left) Sergeant Muhammad Jaffariz Siddiq Ahmad Azeri and Sergeant Neo Fang Ning using the Mobile Interactive Training Application during their Prison Officer Course. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - It has all the elements of a good mobile app game, with players selecting their avatars and being involved in shooting obstacles, searching for hidden objects and answering quiz questions, all set to pulsating theme music.

But this new gaming app, launched this month, is for people training to be Singapore's prison officers.

It took 1½ years to create the app and to incorporate it into the training curriculum. The timing could not have been better, with the Covid-19 pandemic putting a temporary stop to training attachments at the physical prisons.

The first group of trainees to use the app, called the Mobile Interactive Training Application, on Friday (Aug 28) showed the media how it works at the Home Team Academy in Choa Chu Kang.

Sergeant Muhammad Jaffariz Siddiq Ahmad Azeri, a trainee, said the app has helped him visualise the prison environment.

"It's engaging and at the same time it actually gives us a picture of... what to expect for when we go for ground training," said the 25-year-old, who began his training two weeks ago.

The app comprises seven challenges across three intensity levels, as well as three milestone quests at the end of each level. They test the trainee's knowledge of concepts on topics covered on the course.

Sergeant Neo Fang Ning, 26, another trainee, said she uses the app when she has time to herself in her bunk. The app is accessed on the trainees' Singapore Prison Service-issued tablets.

"We use this app for our pre-class preparation, so we go through the app first and take down the questions we are unsure of, and then when the lesson resumes, we can ask our trainers," she said.

The app uses scenarios with sufficient realism in a safe learning environment and enables learning anytime, anywhere and not just in the classroom. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

The new training tool is expected to benefit an average of 100 officers undergoing the prison officer course at the Singapore Prison Training Institute every year.

Chief Warder Cheang Wei Ting, one of the training instructors, said the app comes in handy, as "different learners have a different learning pace".

The instructor added: "I believe that the knowledge retention is actually much more than if it's just classroom lectures. Through fun, they can retain the knowledge better."

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