User experience of safety training and hazardous work settings in virtual environments

By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dominique M. Lasco [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (edited version). Original at

By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dominique M. Lasco [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (edited version – not related to the study described here).

My PhD journey has now reached a point where data collection stage is finally at hand. Here’s what I am looking for, perhaps someone knows people who might be interested in participating.

My aim is to study how users experience safety training and hazardous work settings in virtual environments. The study approach is phenomenological analysis, and I am searching for about 15 people to be interviewed for an hour or so.

People who a) work and b) have gone through a virtual environment mediated training in contexts such as mining, minerals in general, chemicals, use of various kinds of large vehicles, would be perfect for this.

The aim of the study is,

  1. To describe the user experience of the virtual environment or context, and
  2. To examine what affected the experience and how it came about.

In case you want to know more, check out the research poster (the study focus and design has developed further from that, but it will sum up the basics): Teras Marko Research Poster. pdf

To contact me:

Email: marko.teras(at)


Facepalms and Lulz: Blind spots in immersive virtual environment research reports in safety training contexts

Image from

Lately I’ve been gathering a literature review in the use of immersive virtual environments (or IVEs) in safety training contexts – this might include construction, mining, military, healthcare etc. A couple of quick observations below, in a non-academic and tightly socially acceptable way – although one could go beyond that.

  1. Terms such as virtual reality, immersive virtual environments, virtual worlds, simulations, serious games, immersion, and presence (a non-exhaustive list) are used however one feels like – nope, no need to justify them. You might have a virtual environment with which you don’t even allow the user to interact, a regular monitor as the output, and you call it a ‘virtual reality’ and a ‘serious game’. A double whammy! Hmm, I really need to bend my head in so many ways to agree with this that I am actually getting an idea: a journal article!
  2. It seems people still have the misconception that virtual environments are about representation. Interaction seems to be something like the evil twin that everyone wants to hide, or pretend it does not exist. Don’t these people play video games, like really?
  3. No one is interested in the actual user experience – oh yeah, that too exists! If you ask “did you like it” and they say “yeah, it was good” I don’t think it should cut as genuine research. At least I don’t have any idea what to do with such comments. But…
  4. …everyone is interested in fidelity, life-likeness or realism (within the little world of object number 2 on this list). How using different input/output devices, level of interaction with the environment, basically the whole shebang of human-computer interaction and user experience is tossed aside in the name of understanding better graphics! I am sure old MUD players would at least now facepalm, if not already before. Immersion has been there for ages, and assigning it all to better graphics is just denying the existence of everything else.

Just a couple of thoughts.