Factors affecting training effectiveness in synchronous, dispersed virtual environments
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The U.S. Navy is investigating the feasibility of incorporating distance learning technology to its technical training programs. Specifically, a distance learning model with instruction provided through 3-D virtual worlds could provide effective training at a significant cost savings as compared to traditional training models. Students learn differently in a virtual environment than they do with face-to-face instruction, however, and for the Navy to successfully incorporate training through virtual worlds, it must accommodate the learning challenges specific to the medium. For students in training, monitoring of student perceptions about the virtual environment would serve as the best available barometer of the effectiveness of the training design and could provide early warnings of students who have difficulty learning in the virtual environment. Some students may be better suited to this type of training than others, and measurable personality factors may be helpful in predicting which students would be most likely to succeed in the virtual environment.
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