Our brand-new Hydra Suite offers students, staff and other professionals the chance to take part in immersive simulations of real-life natural decision-making.
Dr Elaine Brown with students after our first Hydra simulation
This innovative system is among the most cutting-edge of its kind, and is used to train practitioners working within fields such as criminal justice, government, and the emergency services.
While the Hydra system is already in use at 85 centres worldwide, we are the first university to use Hydra at an undergraduate level – giving our students the chance to use tools that have been used to train professionals working in high pressure situations. Though we are initially rolling out the Hydra Suite within the School of Law, Criminal Justice and Computing, our aim is to expand its use across the University, for use by students and staff.
What is it?
The Hydra Suite itself consists of a software application used in conjunction with a range of technology platforms, all within our dedicated Hydra facilities. This technology helps us create a safe and meaningful environment where we can simulate ‘naturalistic’ decision-making.
- At the start of the simulation, users are divided up into small groups and are assigned to work in a monitored seminar room, also known as a ‘syndicate room’.
- As the scenario progresses, a range of videos, audio clips, and documents are sent to participants from a central control room, where a controller monitors events as they unfold.
- Using iPads complete with special Hydra software, participants log their thoughts and actions as the scenario unfolds, recording their decisions anonymously for later discussion and analysis.
- At the end of each session, we host plenary discussions in which participants can review their decisions, and the impacts they had.
Hydra offers a number of benefits to participants, be they students, members of staff, or current practitioners. These include:
- Fully immersive simulation designed to test decision making within a high-pressure setting.
- Decisions are logged anonymously, and with zero accountability, creating a safe environment in which to learn from experiences.
- Helps build knowledge and experience for when participants come into contact with similar issues in real life.
- Significant impact on knowledge and performance.
- More fun, appealing and learner-centred than traditional learning methods.
Feedback from our students
We asked each of our students to provide three words to describe their experience using Hydra. Here's what they had to say:
(Data © Elaine Brown 2015)
Find out more
You can read more about the Hydra Suite in a blog post written by our Learning Technology Team. If you have any further questions, or comments, please contact Dr Elaine Brown.