VR training – can it get you to the moon and back?

Cosmos Magazine


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By Cosmos

Building a virtual reality scenario to train people how to handle dangerous situations on the moon is helping Adelaide University understand the complexities of VR learning.

Director of the Unit for Digital Learning and Society at the School of Education of the University of Adelaide, Associate Professor Edward Palmer says virtual reality is great fun, and could be the best way to train people in certain situations.

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“VR is relatively new and can be expensive,” Palmer says. “We’re still trying to work out what to do, how to do it and when we should use VR for training instead of other methods such as video or even text.

Our VR scenarios are built by our in-house team of experts, Realities Extended, and one scenario relates to lunar exploration. “The users will get experience driving on the moon, and then we puncture a hole in the lunar rover and they have to deal with this unexpected situation.”

The VR scenarios themselves are part of the University’s dedication to cutting-edge research.

“While the people using it build their skills, we are researching storytelling, cognitive load and decision making skills.”

“And we’re trying to work out how VR might fit into the whole training cycle. For example people who put out fires on oil rigs do very comprehensive training up front, and need to update their skills regularly. We’re trying to find out if VR can replace some workshops and top-up programs and still provide the rigour,” Palmer says.

Palmer will be a guest at Cosmos Science City, on November 7, a monthly conversation between people and scientists. Tickets are free and the event will be live streamed.

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