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Colin Metcalfe

Performance Design Specialist


Can virtual reality

training deliver

improved responses to


When it comes to learning about safetycritical situations and emergency

procedures, do you know anyone who

prefers theoretical knowledge over

practical experience?

As provocative as this question may sound, it

is the basis of why, in October 2018,

SiyonaTech commenced a trial of its Virtual

Reality (VR) Aircraft Cabin Fire-Fighting

programme at Further Education (FE)

Colleges, throughout the South-East of

England. The programme reproduces for the

virtual world, the inside of an airliner complete

with passengers, crew and equipment.

This trial aims to investigate the effectiveness

of VR learning tools for the aforementioned

processes and procedures. Although much

data already exists supporting the

effectiveness of VR training for medical

procedures, there is less available for more

practical tasks.

VR programme trial

There is progress to be made in assisting

organisations in fully understanding the

advantages of VR, particularly for safetycritical learning scenarios. Many companies

still consider that a classroom presentation to

learn the procedure, followed by a

demonstration and a practical session with

the equipment, is sufficient training to earn an

employee a 'tick in the box.' Is this provision


We believe that since the vast majority of fires,

or medical emergencies, are discovered by

non-specialists, training should feature more

repetition, allowing employees to rehearse

procedures and learn from mistakes. For

employees to have the confidence to take on

the challenge, rather than take flight or freeze,

they need to remember fully what they have

been taught.

Personalities play a big role in deciding what

option an employee might choose, as does

confidence levels on the day. Consequently,

you never know for sure how an individual

may react to a stressful or potentially lifethreatening situation. Companies, as well as

education and learning experts, must ensure

staff are sufficiently briefed and prepared, in

order to cultivate that confidence; a task VR is

uniquely positioned to undertake.



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