Exploring the characteristics of immersive technologies for teamwork

Beata-Noemi Balint*, Brett Stevens, Helen Dudfield, Wendy Powell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Teams are essential components of Defence Organisations where teamwork errors, whilst rare, can lead to fatal consequences (Baker, Day, & Salas, 2006). Due to the increased costs and risks of live training, these organisations are increasingly employing synthetic team training solutions. These are advocated as effective media for the training of teamwork (Delise, Allen Gorman, Brooks, Rentsch, & Steele-Johnson, 2010), with a growing interest in the adoption of immersive Virtual Reality (VR) systems. However, these technologies come with an increased cost of content development (Bogan, Bybee, & Bahlis, 2019) and are generally met by a resistance to change. Although, there is anecdotal evidence of a training benefit of immersive technologies, there is an opportunity to explore whether their innate features support teamwork. Therefore, in order to justify the procurement of immersive team training systems, there is a need for empirical research to ascertain the optimal technology architecture for training teamwork. In this paper we describe early results to empirically explore the support offered by technological immersion, presence, and psychological fidelity for teamwork. Specifically, we looked to examine the relationship between these constructs and their effect on participants’ perceived ability to engage in teamworking behaviors. Participants were divided into 6 teams of 4 and were asked to play a co-operative COTS video game (PayDay 2) with either a desktop set-up (low immersion) or an HMD set-up (high immersion). The results suggest that participants in the HMD condition reported lower teamwork, lower presence, lower usability, and higher workload, when compared to the ones in the Desktop condition. We conclude that participants’ lack of familiarity with the VR system may have represented an additional source of extraneous cognitive load, impeding them from engaging in teamwork as well as the participants in the Desktop condition. Lessons learned and implications for practice are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2020
EventVirtual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference - Virtual
Duration: 30 Nov 20204 Dec 2020


ConferenceVirtual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference
Abbreviated titlevIITSEC
Internet address


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