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virtual reality-based training (VRBT)

Virtual reality-based training (VRBT) is an interactive and immersive teaching method that employs technology to provide virtual scenarios to simulate situations that might occur in actual settings. VRBT simulates on-the-job style training in a safe, controlled and forgiving environment.

Useful for helping build both motor skills and soft skills, virtual reality (VR) enables trainers to deliver large amounts of complex information in a visually attractive way and provides a cost-effective means for large numbers of people to be trained within a virtual setting, often remotely. In addition, VRBT can help divide complex data into manageable pieces.

The visual format, contextual cues and immersive characteristics of VR help improve the quality and speed of learning and, some studies say, enable humans to retain information longer than with traditional training. Using VRBT creates memories as if humans had done something before.

VR gets high marks for keeping students engaged, and is conducive to peer-review, feedback and on-going assessment. When VR is set up in a classroom, the rest of the class can see on a screen what the person using the VR technology sees.

VRBT is used in a range of industries, including manufacturing, avionics, the military, law enforcement, firefighting, health care, automotive and space. Flight simulators have been used for years to train pilots and prepare them for emergencies without putting novices at risk. In other examples, someone undergoing VRBT to operate a forklift doesn’t have to worry about injuring himself or bystanders or damaging merchandize, or an ironworker-in-training can be introduced virtually to working on a skyscraper.

VR often is used to supplement traditional training methods; for example, medical professionals may not have enough real-life cases on which to practice, so VRBT can augment traditional educational programs. VR medical instructional software is used for teaching cardiopulmonary resuscitation, nasal gastric tube insertion, Foley catheter insertion, intubation, starting an IV, wound care and the Heimlich maneuver.


This was last updated in November 2017

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