SMU & Straits Interactive introduce blended hands-on data protection course

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Singapore Management University (SMU) Academy and Straits Interactive, a specialist in data privacy, recently announced the integration of virtual reality (VR) technology and software tools into its data protection courses, starting with the new Practitioner Certificate in Personal Data Protection (Singapore) Preparatory Course. Developed by the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC), this course equips Data Protection Officers (DPOs) with the know-how to establish a robust data protection infrastructure for their respective organisations.

Participants will be using customised software designed by Straits Interactive to enhance the effectiveness of their roles as DPOs in implementing the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) for their organisations. This blended approach illustrates the commitment by both organisations to enrich and enhance the learning experience of their participants.

“The recent data breaches in Singapore are timely and sobering reminders of the vulnerabilities that organisations face. As such, we have been working with Straits Interactive to explore new ways of encouraging DPOs to get themselves trained adequately, and to comply with the PDPA, not just for legal reasons but to enhance and strengthen their operations,” said Dr Lim Lai Cheng, Executive Director, SMU Academy.

“From the start, our DPO courses were designed to impart to participants practical and relevant knowledge; the newly incorporated VR technology will further engage participants and make their learning experience richer and more impactful,” she added.

“Complying with the PDPA operationally means taking an inventory of personal data that an organisation collects and holds, charting its flow from collection to disposal, and carrying out a data protection impact assessment to determine risks. For a newly appointed DPO, this process is likely to be overwhelming if done manually or with spreadsheets. Hence our decision to introduce the blended learning approach to this course,” said Kevin Shepherdson, CEO, Straits Interactive.

Blended learning allows participants to learn via electronic and online media as well as face-to-face. Participants will have an opportunity in the Practitioner Certificate course to have a hands-on experience using the software for classroom exercises as well as exporting their assignments to be used after the course in their respective operational settings.

The use of VR technology brings a new learning experience to the classroom. Participants will be provided with VR headsets where they will identify common data breaches in the work environment. SMU and Straits Interactive plan to roll out the blended learning approach to all 14 data protection related courses being offered at the SMU Academy.

Funded under the SkillsFuture scheme, participants who complete the course may sit for an examination. Upon successfully passing it, they will then obtain the Practitioner Certificate in Personal Data Protection (Singapore) co-issued by the PDPC and the International Association for Privacy Professionals (IAPP).