Centre for Applied Research

The Centre for Applied Research helps keep communities safe through an active applied research agenda engaging first responders, first receivers, practitioners, policy makers, stakeholders and services users. The Centre develops new knowledge in emerging disciplines that informs best practice and public policy, enhances justice and public safety curriculum, and leverages learning technologies and methodologies and increases public awareness.

A framework for the design of computer-assisted simulation training for complex police situations
The purpose of this paper is to report progress concerning the design of a computer-assisted simulation training (CAST) platform for developing decision-making skills in police students. The overarching aim is to outline a theoretical framework for the design of CAST to facilitate police students’ development of search techniques in complex interactions within the built environment, learning to apply and perform the five “quick peek” techniques for information gathering, and subsequent risk evaluation.
An analysis of mass casualty incidents in the setting of mass gatherings and special events
Mass gatherings (MGs) and special events typically involve large numbers of people in unfamiliar settings, potentially creating unpredictable situations. To assess the information available to guide emergency services and onsite medical teams in planning and preparing for potential mass casualty incidents (MCIs), we analyzed the literature for the past 30 years. A search of the literature for MCIs at MGs from 1982 to 2012 was conducted and analyzed. Of the 290 MCIs included in this study, the most frequently reported mechanism of injury involved the movement of people under crowded conditions (162; 55.9%), followed by special hazards (eg, airplane crashes, pyrotechnic displays, car crashes, boat collisions: 57; 19.6%), structural failures (eg, building code violations, balcony collapses: 38; 13.1%), deliberate events (26; 9%), and toxic exposures (7; 2.4%). Incidents occurred in Asia (71; 24%), Europe (69; 24%), Africa (48; 17%), North America (48; 27%), South America (27; 9%), the Middle East (25; 9%), and Australasia (2; 1%). A minimum of 12 877 deaths and 27 184 injuries resulted. Based on our findings, we recommend that a centralized database be created. With this database, researchers can further develop evidence to guide prevention efforts and mitigate the effects of MCIs during MGs. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;0:1-7)
Editorial: the second international conference on physical employment standards: an international perspective
This editorial is part of a supplemental issue entitled Proceedings from the Second International Conference on Physical Employment Standards − Best Practice in Physical Employment Standards: An International Perspective. Second International Conference on Physical Employment Standards (PES 2015) was held in Canmore, Alberta, Canada; August 23–26, 2015.
Guest editorial
Anybody born after 1982 has had access to, and even immersion in, a networked world of digital technology. This group of people has been variously referred to as Digital Natives, Millennials, and the Net Generation and is assumed by many to be fundamentally different from previous generations (Palfrey and Gasser, 2008; Tapscott, 2009) to the point of being described as behaving differently, having different social characteristics, different ways of using and making sense of information, different ways of learning, and different expectations about life and learning.
Guest editorial: special issue: creating impactful e-learning experiences
Introductory note: Welcome to our annual special issue featuring papers presented at the International Conference on Information and Communications Technology in Education (ICICTE). ICICTE addresses the many challenges and new directions presented by technological and pedagogical innovations in ICT for educational settings. Each year academic and professional participants at ICICTE gain an excellent overview of current thinking and practices in applications of technology to education.
Guest editorial: special issue: digital update in higher education
Introductory note: Educational practices are often steeped in tradition with an emphasis on lecture-based delivery of content. However, new technologies offer many new and innovative methods of content delivery, bounded primarily by the capabilities of the individual lecturer themselves and the decision of "what technology to use, for what purpose?" The topic of appropriate use of technology in education is debated widely and across many fora. This special issue entitled "Digital Uptake in Higher Education" features papers from one such fora, the International Conference on Information and Communications Technology in Education (ICICTE).
More than good sight lines: what makes an effective learning environment
I often start instructor workshops with two questions: ''What's the difference between teaching and learning?" and "Where does learning happen?" Both are, on their own, interesting questions. The answers and the discussion that follows are usually intriguing, leading into the differences between "transmission" styles of instruction and more collaborative learning approaches, formal and informal learning activities, learning styles, or why we teach and learn. These ideas are all elements of the learning environment.
The use of social networking and learning management systems in English language teaching in higher education
The use of web-enhanced teaching of the English as a foreign language in higher education in Greece is addressed in this case study which examines the student’s perceptions of online instruction using Moodle as a learning management system (LMS), with and without the use of Facebook (FB) as an adjunctive learning platform. The merging of this collaborative and interactive social platform with a LMS is explored, examining the attitudes of higher education foreign language learners toward Moodle as a LMS, and FB as an adjunctive informal learning environment. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
Towards best practice in physical and physiological employment standards
While the scope of the term physical employment standards is wide, the principal focus of this paper is on standards related to physiological evaluation of readiness for work. Common applications of such employment standards for work are in public safety and emergency response occupations (e.g., police, firefighting, military), and there is an ever-present need to maximize the scientific quality of this research. Historically, most of these occupations are male-dominated, which leads to potential sex bias during physical demands analysis and determining performance thresholds. It is often assumed that older workers advance to positions with lower physical demand. However, this is not always true, which raises concerns about the long-term maintenance of physiological readiness. Traditionally, little attention has been paid to the inevitable margin of uncertainty that exists around cut-scores. Establishing confidence intervals around the cut-score can reduce for this uncertainty. It may also be necessary to consider the effects of practise and biological variability on test scores. Most tests of readiness for work are conducted under near perfect conditions, while many emergency responses take place under far more demanding and unpredictable conditions. The potential impact of protective clothing, respiratory protection, load carriage, environmental conditions, nutrition, fatigue, sensory deprivation, and stress should also be considered when evaluating readiness for work. In this paper, we seek to establish uniformity in terminology in this field, identify key areas of concern, provide recommendations to improve both scientific and professional practice, and identify priorities for future research.
Training for improved neuro-muscular control of balance in middle aged females
This study examined improvements in static balance and muscle electromyographic (EMG) activity following a four week progressive training program in 16 middle aged females (mean age Z 46.9 ± 8.7 yrs; height 161.1 ± 6.0 cm; weight 65.4 ± 11.2 kg). Participants trained 3 times per week for 4 weeks, for 50 min per session, progressing base of support, stability, vision, resistance and torque in each of six basic exercises. Pre and post training measures of balance included feet together standing, a tandem stance and a one-leg stand (unsupported leg in the frontal plane) performed with the eyes closed, and a Stork Stand (unsupported leg in the frontal plane) with both eyes open and closed. In each position postural deviations were tallied for each individual while muscle recruitment was determined using root mean squared (RMS) EMG activity for the soleus, biceps femoris, erector spinae, rectus abdominis and internal oblique muscles of the dominant foot side. Balance scores were significantly improved post training in both the Balance Error Score System (p < 0.05) and stork stand positions (p < 0.01). Muscle activity was reduced post-training in all muscles in each condition except the soleus in the tandem position, although not all significantly. Reduced biceps femoris activity suggest that improved core stability allowed participants to move from a hip to an ankle postural control strategy through improved coordination of muscles involved inbalance and reduced body sway. The core muscles were able to control body position with less activity post training suggesting improved muscle coordination and efficiency. These results suggest that short term progressive floor to BOSU™ balance training can improve standing balance in middle aged women.