VR Training Software: Research Shows Strong Results for Learners
- John Rolando (Spectral Labs Inc.) | Kausalai (Kay) Wijekumar (Urban School Partnerships / Texas A&M University) | Rhett Barnes (Spectral Labs Inc.)
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- December 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 35 - 38
- 2018. American Society of Safety Professionals
- 7 in the last 30 days
- 16 since 2007
- Show more detail
- Realistic Adaptive Interactive Learning System (RAILS) is a game-based virtual reality learning software developed for training first responders.
- The software helps users learn how to detect and mitigate explosives in a scenario-based system with help from a virtual tutor.
- Research conducted with a diverse group of graduate students shows that RAILS users outperformed the control group on posttest.
Many high-impact career fields such as law enforcement and first responders to threats now require strong, high-quality training in complex science topics such as radiation, chemicals, and explosives detection and mitigation. In addition, more students must be encouraged to enter science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines to sustain innovation and encourage transformations for the future of our society. Unfortunately, many traditional learning environments have lost their luster in achieving transformational change in increasing STEM motivation and learning, as evidenced by the dwindling STEM pipeline in schools. A recent article shows that interest among teen boys in STEM careers after middle school has dropped precipitously from 36% to 24% in the past few years (Marotti, 2018).
The traditional approaches to learning such as instructor-led handson training is costly and cannot be delivered quickly to geographically dispersed locations. Lecture-based instruction, printed materials and multimedia videos do not support strong, on-demand, consistent and high-quality training for first responders to threats. These personnel may be situated in remote locations or may not have the ability to travel for in-person training. First responders also have diverse background knowledge and are not expected to be experts in science. Experiencing the use of detection equipment through virtual reality (VR) may provide the closest thing to hands-on training in time-sensitive and geographically dispersed situations.
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