To be properly prepared for a disaster requires training that replicates real life as closely as possible. Traditional collaborative training is both resource intensive and time consuming which making this quality of training infrequent and difficult to evaluate. With a busy airport, it’s not feasible to practice where the actual disaster response would take place. A similar site must be used but this also means that a simulated training exercise is not what first responders or security personnel will actually face. This situation makes for less than optimal evaluation and knowledge transfer.
Need for Real Practice
While similar sites help trainees build familiarity with process and working together, the quirks and procedures around a specific site are often impossible to reproduce. So while similar sites help, they do not build the repetition that practicing at the actual location in question would provide.
The high costs and tough logistics required to pull off a live exercise means that they only can be held when timing and budget permits. New employees might miss a training session only to be unprepared when faced with an emergency situation.
EON Reality Norway was selected by Avinor AS, a state-owned company that operates the majority of civil airports in Norway, to conduct a study on how virtual training could be used to prepare relevant actors in handling crises at airports. Sola Airport was developed as a virtual environment and integrated with a training simulator. This gives actors the ability to train on a number of predefined relevant scenarios at the same airport.
PRACTICE ON THE REAL SITE
In using a virtual facsimile of Sola Airport, trainees were able to practice their emergency procedures on a real facility. The logistical and response challenges present in the real environment translated to the virtual giving the trainees a chance to perform as they would in real life.
ON DEMAND PRACTICE
The virtual nature of the practice means that logistical requirements of training are easier to manage and only requires the availability of the people involved. The requirements for a training session are now access to VR devices and screens rather than an open airport or runway. This leads to more frequent and more realistic practice.
The simulator records and replays all activities and all team communication, providing the information needed for reflecting upon and evaluating a team’s performance and learning process.