Quantifying the Benefits of Immersion for Procedural Training

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Virginia Tech

Training is one of the most important and widely-used applications of immersive Virtual Reality (VR). Research has shown that Immersive Virtual Environments (IVEs) are beneficial for training motor activities and spatial activities, but it is unclear whether immersive VEs are beneficial for purely mental activities, such as memorizing a procedure. In this thesis, we present two experiments to identify benefits of immersion for a procedural training process. The first experiment is a between-subjects experiment comparing two levels of immersion in a procedural training task. For the higher level of immersion, we used a large L-shaped projection display. We used a typical laptop display for the lower level of immersion. We asked participants to memorize two procedures: one simple and the other complex. We found that the higher level of immersion resulted in significantly faster task performance and reduced error for the complex procedure. As result of the first experiment we performed a controlled second experiment. We compared two within-subjects variables namely environment and location under various treatments formed by combination of three between-subject variables namely Software Field Of View (SFOV), Physical FOV, Field Of Regard (FOR). We found that SFOV is the most essential component for learning a procedure efficiently using IVEs. We hypothesize that the higher level of immersion helped users to memorize the complex procedure by providing enhanced spatial cues, leading to the development of an accurate mental map that could be used as a memory aid.

Experiment Design, Human memory model, Trauma Room simulation, Memorization, Training, Immersive Virtual Environments, Virtual Reality