Student Research

Royal Roads University’s applied research mirrors its interdisciplinary curriculum and is based on being solution-oriented and real-world focused. The research featured here aims to inspire and celebrate the relevant work students perform in their programs and in their fields. The following students have been nominated as examples of research in action and student research excellence.

Yvonne Armstrong 

Police officers often respond to calls involving persons in crisis (PIC) and at times the outcome of those interactions is not positive. Industry and government reports identify a need for improved training for police officers when interacting with PIC. Guided by two theoretical frameworks: experiential learning theory (ELT) and cognitive load theory (CLT) this research sought to answer the following question: In what ways might the use of simulation training influence police interactions with persons in crisis (PIC)?

The use of simulation to effectively educate adults requires a sound understanding of both ELT and CLT. Instructors need to consider the trainee, their experiences, and their environments. Using a qualitative meta-synthesis, the literature indicates that simulation is a useful tool to train police officers in managing interactions with PIC. Specifically, reducing the load on working memory leads to changes in long term memory which is beneficial when learning new skills.

With the advice of Dr. Terry Coleman, an expert in this field, Yvonne is currently in the process of submitting her research to published journals for publication. 

Lori Kemp

Title: Competency-Based Education for Student Development in Vocational Education and Training

Through her experience as an instructor in a skills-based diploma program, Lori recognizes that students acquire competencies at different rates, through different experiences, and to varying degrees of proficiency. This dilemma inspired Lori to explore personalized competency-based education (CBE) as a potential means to enable continual student development in vocational education and training (VET) programs. 

The research findings revealed principles of curricular design aimed at promoting a comprehensive perspective of competency development as the integration of knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to perform in specific vocational domains. As a result, Lori developed a comprehensive competency development model to illustrate the learning process in this context, and to guide educators and program planners in the design of CBE for VET.  

Faculty and staff at Olds College have shown interest in Lori’s research and in particular in the CBE learning model. Conducting CBE for VET research has also lead to the opportunity for Lori to work with instructors in Kenya on a Kenya Education for Employment Program (KEFEP) project in partnership with Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan).

Lori continues to facilitate learning in the Apparel Technology program at Olds College. She is excited to also be leading a curriculum planning project for the college. “I have always enjoyed working with curriculum and having completed the MA In Learning and Technology program allows me to approach that work with a more holistic perspective.”

Andrew Prince

Title: Gadgets and Grades: Perceived Influences of Computing Devices on Achievement in Online Distance Learning

The relationship between humans and technology is ever-changing. From acquiring purpose-built technologies for our everyday needs to improvising solutions that address unique interests, many of us rely on a suite of technologies to help us achieve goals, go about our daily tasks, and for pleasure. Given the growing interest in technology from postsecondary institutions, and its essential place in online learning environments, Andrew wanted to examine the usage, utility, and perceptions of the devices learners use throughout their education in order to enrich our understanding of how, when, and for why people chose to learn with them.

In Andrew’s research, he surveyed actively enrolled master’s-level learners in partially and fully online programs at a Canadian university to help establish the value of particular computing devices throughout the learning process. In his analysis, Andrew observed trends in the popularity of specific computing devices, determined the types of operating systems learners favored and the apps they relied upon in their studies. He also investigated learners’ perceptions of their technology and the influence it had on their academic success.