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A review of the evidence for training effectiveness with virtual reality technology

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Prior to adopting new technologies for training, evaluations must be executed to demonstrate their benefit. Specifically, the appeal of virtual reality has led to applications across domains. While many evaluations have been conducted on their effectiveness, there has yet been a review to summarize and categorize the evidence on training outcomes. To assess the benefits these new technologies may bring to the trainee, a review of the research on the training effectiveness with virtual reality (VR) technology that was conducted. The goal for this review was to take a domain-agnostic perspective to identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that have been trained effectively or enhanced with the use of VR. This review searched the related literature within multiple databases and found publications that met the search criteria from 1992 to 2019. A discussion of previous VR training reviews is first presented, followed by an in-depth evaluation of the literature that met the inclusion criteria. Three distinct categories of KSAs were identified consistently: psychomotor performance, knowledge acquisition, and spatial ability. Recommendations to support achievement of training outcomes utilizing VR training systems are provided.

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This research was accomplished under Contract No. N68335-19-C-0089. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of NAWCTSD or the US Government. The US Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Government purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation hereon.

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Correspondence to Julian Abich IV.

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Abich, J., Parker, J., Murphy, J.S. et al. A review of the evidence for training effectiveness with virtual reality technology. Virtual Reality 25, 919–933 (2021).

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