Baton Rouge, La - The Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) announced today that researchers at the Louisiana Transportation Research Center’s Transportation Training and Education Center (LTRC - TTEC) predict a new virtual training method they developed will help save lives.
LTRC – TTEC developed a new computer-based training program similar to that utilized in gaming systems (e.g., PlayStation 3® and Xbox®) to teach highway maintenance workers basic flagging procedures.
"National work zone safety information data shows that since 2003, an overwhelming 5,771 individuals were killed in construction work zones in the U.S.," said Sherri H. LeBas, DOTD Secretary. "Through innovative teaching solutions and utilization of new technology, we are able to combat these statistics and help better equip our employees for success in their work place."
LTRC – TTEC researchers evaluated this new technology and used Web 3D technology in an immersive virtual learning environment (IVLE), in which participants saw themselves as computer representations (avatars), performing the required procedures and interacting in the simulated work zone using the knowledge they obtained through the lecture portion of the course. The program specifically taught DOTD highway maintenance workers basic flagging procedures by simulating real-world highway maintenance work zones.
LTRC – TTEC researchers’ findings supported previous studies showing that participants are more comfortable applying the instructional knowledge in the IVLE because mistakes can be made without negative consequences.
Using both control and treatment groups, LTRC – TTEC researchers tested the IVLE technology by comparing the learning outcomes of the new course to the traditional course delivery method.
"Our initial results indicate that learning of the important course concept – the learning that really matters – improved more for the participants in the IVLE treatment group as compared to those in the control group," said Glynn Cavin, Ph.D., TTEC Associate Director.
Participants learned the characteristics of a good flagger, correct flagging equipment, proper use of the equipment, acceptable placement of the flagger in a maintenance work zone, and applicable safety rules. Researchers evaluated skills pre- and post-test, demographic survey information, and qualitative interviews to measure if knowledge and engagement were increased through the use of the IVLE.
LTRC-TTEC is currently developing a program around the initial study, which will utilize this training method.
The research findings will be presented at this year’s Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC), to be held in November. I/ITSEC provides a forum for military, industry, academia and government agencies to share information on innovations in training and education, and is the only conference of its kind in the world, with more than 16,000 attendees and participants from more than 60 nations. Less than 20 percent of the papers submitted for consideration are selected for presentation.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) is committed to delivering transportation and public works systems that enhance the quality of life. In addition to more than 16,600 miles of roadway, including over 890 miles of interstate, DOTD supports the development of the state’s aviation, marine and rail infrastructures. Through this work, we are able to facilitate economic development, create job opportunities, improve vital evacuation routes, and make critical freight corridors safer and more efficient.
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