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Virtual Reality in General

Virtual reality (VR) is typically distinguished by HMD (head mounted display) goggles equipped with one or two screens that display a computer-generated image. The image is generally stereoscopic, which means that it depicts slightly different images for each eye to simulate the impression of spatial vision.

It is widely believed that the first experiments with devices of this type were con- ducted at the Lincoln Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1960s. The first HMD created to display a synthetic (virtual) image was named the Sword of Damocles. Experiments with similar solutions were conducted anal- ogously, which enabled the display of real-world images recorded by cameras to, for example, assist pilots of combat helicopters during night flights.

VR techniques are particularly useful for procedural training and assessment of decision making. For example, computer software designed for worker training can detect deviations within training scenarios and present trainees with the con- sequences of their actions (e.g., explosion or fire). Being able to involve so-called muscle memory is also important, because movements that are performed in a virtual environment are identical to those performed in the real workplace. The ability for VR to stimulate different senses and easily create the illusion of spatial presence makes it a great tool that can become an interface for exploring artificial environments. If the technical capabilities of a VR system are capable of providing the full, rich, and all-encompassing experience of being in a remote location, then it can be called immersion.

  • obtain a high degree of simulation realism;

  • simulate a variety of scenarios within controlled conditions;

  • realistically present the consequences of actions undertaken by a trainee during training (e.g., a methane explosion);

  • create advanced training applications that enable trainees to develop proper habits without risk.

  • Training processes are accelerated.

  • Training costs are reduced.

  • Training effectiveness is increased.

  • The training course is more attractive.

  • Muscle memory is developed, thus increasing work efficacy.

  • “Tacit knowledge” (i.e., knowledge resulting from experience) is enabled.

Training simulators and training that utilises VR can provide workers with a safe and controlled environment for gaining and developing not only standard organ- isational knowledge and skills but also knowledge about emergency procedures. Furthermore, interactivity and immersion within a virtual environment can increase interest in training, and increased interest facilitates the memorization of acquired knowledge and the consolidation of newly acquired skills (including manual skills). Moreover, within the framework of a computer simulation, problem-solving skills in the face of stress-inducing emergencies or life-threating situations (e.g., fire) can be assessed.

Gamification can be used to increase the efficacy and efficiency of training tools used in virtual environments. The term “gamification” refers to the practice of applying typical gaming mechanics to fields outside of the electronic entertainment industry in order to influence human behaviour within a specific context. Using typical gaming elements (e.g., earning points when passing to the next stage of a training scenario) in the training process leads to an increase in perceived useful- ness of the training tool and helps strengthen commitment to the training process. Training games (so-called serious games), which are based on a similar format to computer games but are used for professional purposes, are a good example. The analysis of results published in psychological research shows that playing com- puter games and using training applications similar to computer games improves individuals’ cognitive functioning, e.g. increases attention. This is in line with the results of other scientific publications relating to the impact that computer games have on cognitive functioning. The earlier hypothesis that using interactive environments which resemble computer games supports the acquisition of knowledge and skills is supported by the results of the conducted research. In recent years, gamification has been used to increase worker involvement in the training process, and an important factor of this is that it facilitates easy cooperation with a variety of people from the same work environment.

Virtual Reality (VR) Demonstrator in ProSPeReS

The ProSPeReS e-learning course integrates VR technology for immersive, hands-on learning about religious site protection. Learners explore and respond to threats in virtual environments, enhancing understanding and practical skills. VR is cost-effective and customizable, providing a rich learning experience.

The incorporation of a VR demonstrator in the ProSPeReS e-learning course is an innovative and immersive addition to the training curriculum. By utilizing VR technology, learners are provided with a unique opportunity to engage in realistic and interactive experiences that enhance their understanding of religious sites and the associated threats.

VR technology creates a simulated environment that replicates real-world settings, allowing learners to virtually explore and interact with religious sites. This hands-one experience within a virtual setting can provide a deeper understanding of the intri- cacies of these sites, their cultural significance, and the potential threats they face.

The immersive nature of VR enables learners to visualise and experience various scenarios related to the protection and preservation of PWs. They can interact with the virtual environment, observe potential vulnerabilities, and explore preventive and responsive measures in a safe and controlled setting.

By integrating VR into the e-learning course, learners can gain practical insights and skills that may be challenging to acquire solely through traditional classroom-based or theoretical approaches. The experiential learning facilitated by VR technology enhances engagement, retention, and application of knowledge and skills.

Moreover, VR technology allows for a scalable and cost-effective training solution. It eliminates the need for physical site visits or expensive field trips, making it accessible to a wider range of learners. The virtual environment can be custom- ised to include various PWs, scenarios, and challenges, providing a diverse and comprehensive training experience.

Overall, the incorporation of a VR demonstrator in the ProSPeReS e-learning course enriches the training curriculum by providing learners with a realistic and interactive learning experience. It promotes a deeper understanding of PWs, their vulnerabilities, and the implementation of preventive and responsive measures to protect them.

In order to practise the skills acquired during exercise, the PRoSPeReS project developed training using virtual reality (VR) technology.

As part of this stage, participants can virtually find themselves in an exemplary PW, see the specificity of these locations and feel like a person responsible for the safety of this place. Taking part in a training using VR goggles will certainly contribute to better remembering the content presented during the learning part, as well as give you the opportunity to test your skills.

One of the assumptions of the training programme is to practise one’s own reaction to several selected threats that can actually happen in religious facilities. The task of the training participant will be to move around the place of worship and indicate objects or people that may pose a threat. The next step after locating the threat will be the need to refer to the possible responses presented to the participant. Of the four suggested actions for each hazard, only two are correct and these should be indicated.