SIMAC and Marstal School of Navigation

Improving offshore safety with training in VR

VR Safety is the name of the virtual reality safety training tool Virsabi built for two Danish maritime educational institutions. The tool lets the students experience safety situations and train their knowledge aboard a ship before actually setting sail.

Immersion and interaction make the knowledge stick

Safety first. That is a common mantra in many industries – the maritime industry included. Two maritime education centers, SIMAC and Marstal School of Navigation (MARNAV) have taken safety training to a new level. Their ambition was to make safety training more effective and available.

Virsabi helped them do so by developing the virtual reality (VR) safety training tool VR Safety. The tool was built for SIMAC and MARNAV’s students to be as well trained and prepared as possible to avoid critical situations aboard a ship.

In VR Safety, the student meets for instance an animated mentor who takes the student through safety training aboard a ship. Speech, facial expressions, and body language are all used for information, instructions, and praise after correctly performed exercises. The student then must identify correct and incorrect behavior performed by the characters.

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High learning retention with VR

Immersion and interaction make the knowledge stick

But why not just make a video? Although the experience is an animated cartoonish universe, the student is immersed into another universe that makes the acquired knowledge stick in ways you cannot achieve through a regular video.

Because of its immersive and interactive qualities, VR has proven a useful tool for increasing learning retention.

The animated characters in VR Safety also play an important role when it comes to learning and learning retention. During the development of VR Safety, we tested the difference between using a voice over and using animated character. What we found was that the students both understood and remembered more of what they heard when it came from animated characters rather than just a voice over.

An addition to classroom teaching

Sometimes, training in VR is a stand-alone tool that replaces traditional learning in situations where for instance an instructor cannot be present.

In other cases, it is a supplement to classroom learning, which is the case for VR Safety. Teachers at SIMAC and MARNAV use VR Safety as a tool to expose students to situations they cannot experience in the classroom followed by classroom discussions in which they can reflect on the scenarios they just witnessed in the VR headsets.

We built VR Safety in collaboration with Green-Jacobsen, the maritime advisor whose expertise in maritime safety ensured the right content for the experience. The project was funded by the Danish Maritime Fund.

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Virsabi is a virtual reality studio. A technology house of developers and creatives, and one of the first Virtual Reality dedicated companies, offering business consultancy, advisory work and technical development for the utilization of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality.

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