Re-thinking housing inspection and regulation: using 360 technology as a new approach in environmental health practice training




Housing, inspection, regulation, 360-technology, practice, environmental health


Front-line professions such as environmental health require practitioners to demonstrate competence in practice-based skills typically gained only through on-the-job experience. However, practice opportunities have been more scarce, owing mainly to austerity but also to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, so necessitating novel approaches to teaching and learning. 360 technology has recently emerged as a possible solution, but its potential for use in an environmental health setting, such as housing inspection and regulation, is virtually unknown.This study involved the use of a 360-degree camera to record a simulated walkthrough and mock inspection of a two-storey house. These ‘photospheres’ were demonstrated to under- and postgraduate students, who were then surveyed online to explore their attitudes towards the use of this technology as a training method. Analysis of the questionnaire responses revealed four self-reported themes: experience of housing regulation and enforcement practice and training; experiences of 360 technology in housing inspection practice and enforcement; attitudes towards using 360 technology versus traditional photograph and filming methods for experiential learning, training and practice purposes; and attitudes towards the application of 360 technology for experiential learning and training purposes in housing inspection enforcement and regulation.The results indicated that students found this a helpful and flexible tool, particularly valuing its immersive nature, both for initial training and continuing professional development (CPD) in housing inspections and interventions. It has wider applicability to other frontline professional practices and requires further development to help shape new forms of training.


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