A pedagogic evaluation comparing face to face and online formats of a multi-professional offender personality disorder (OPD) higher education training programme

Gary Lamph*, Alison Elliott, Sue Wheatcroft, Gillian Rayner, Kathryn Gardner, Michael Haslam, Emma Jones, Mick McKeown, Jane Gibbon, Nicola Graham-Kevan, Karen Wright

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

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Purpose: The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of a novel offender personality disorder (OPD) higher education programme and the research evaluation results collected over a three-year period. Data from Phase 1 was collected from a face-to-face mode of delivery, and Phase 2 data collected from the same programme was from an online mode of delivery because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Design/methodology/approach: In Phase 1, three modules were developed and delivered in a fully face-to-face format before the pandemic in 2019–2020 (n = 52 student participants). In 2020–2021 (n = 66 student participants), training was adapted into a fully online mode of delivery in Phase 2. This mixed-methods study evaluated participant confidence and compassion. Pre-, post- and six-month follow-up questionnaires were completed. Qualitative interviews were conducted across both phases to gain in-depth feedback on this programme (Phase 1: N = 7 students, Phase 2: N = 2 students, N = 5 leaders). Data from Phase 1 (face-to-face) and Phase 2 (online) are synthesised for comparison. Findings: In Phase 1 (N = 52), confidence in working with people with personality disorder or associated difficulties improved significantly, while compassion did not change. In Phase 2 (N = 66), these results were replicated, with statistically significant improvements in confidence reported. Compassion, however, was reduced in Phase 2 at the six-month follow-up. Results have been integrated and have assisted in shaping the future of modules to meet the learning needs of students. Research limitations/implications: Further research into the impact of different modes of delivery is important for the future of education in a post-pandemic digitalised society. Comparisons of blended learning approaches were not covered but would be beneficial to explore and evaluate in the future. Practical implications: This comparison provided informed learning for consideration in the development of non-related educational programmes and, hence, was of use to other educational providers. Originality/value: This paper provides a comparison of a student-evaluated training programme, thus providing insights into the impact of delivering a relational-focused training programme in both face-to-face and online distance learning delivery modes. From this pedagogic research evaluation, the authors were able to derive unique insights into the outcomes of this programme.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
JournalJournal of Forensic Practice
Early online date27 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2023


  • Co-production
  • Distance learning
  • Face-to-face training
  • Higher education
  • Innovation
  • Lived experience
  • Offending
  • Online training
  • Personality disorder


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