VR- and simulation-based training is based on the principle that students learn better by doing, rather than merely observing. Using 3D simulations, VR-based training offers hands-on, realistic experience with actual situations that trainees will encounter on the job, and actual equipment that they will use. As Senior Lead 3D Simulation Developer Thomas Codrick says, “In a VR world, you can be places where you normally can’t be.”
The images here include screenshots from VR-based training courses that we developed for the FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA), Office of Training, Education, and Development (OTED). OTED needed cost-effective training for the hundreds of food and dairy inspectors who work to protect America’s food supply. Our team produced training courses that incorporated virtual tours developed by our in-house simulation and V/R laboratory. Using technology such as 3-dimensional modeling, gyroscopes, game controllers, and sensory displays, we created vivid simulations that allow instructors to immerse students in real-life scenarios, without the high costs of traditional on-location training. In July 2017, we launched two successful pilot course offerings using the simulated virtual tours, which earned praise from students and instructors. Students were especially enthusiastic about the simulations, describing them as highly realistic and helpful to their understanding of equipment and components. We have developed similar courses and products for the FEMA’s National Fire Academy (NFA).
Dr. George Stone, Director of our Training and Education Practice Area, leads a talented group of technical developers and Instructional Systems Designers. A West Point graduate, Dr. Stone was one of the U.S. Military Academy’s first instructors in the then-emerging discipline of systems engineering, which included simulations in the curricula. Later reassigned to the Army Training Doctrine Command and the Pentagon, he led simulation-based training and analytical programs, and from there, he "grew up in the field" of VR and simulation development. Dr. Stone, a Legion of Merit recipient, retired from the Army as a Colonel, and spent several years as a scientist and researcher supporting DoD-focused modeling and simulation efforts, before joining DSFederal in 2012. Widely regarded as an expert on virtual reality- and simulation-based training, he established DSFederal’s virtual reality laboratory. Our Training and Education Practice Area, supported by our VR lab, can develop highly effective, immersive, hands-on training experiences that engage adult learners, help them to improve their skills, and significantly reduce organizational training and education costs.