Transforming team training: the influence of virtual environment features

Beata-Noemi Balint, Helen Dudfield, Brett Stevens

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


To enhance operational capability, military teams must possess both teamwork and taskwork knowledge, skills, and attitudes. With the growing availability and maturity of consumer-ready Head Mounted Displays (HMDs), there is an increased interest in adopting immersive Virtual Reality (VR) systems for team training. Whilst desktop-based Virtual Environments (VEs) are evidenced as effective delivery methods for team training (e.g. Barton, Bruce, & Schreiber, 2017), review of the evidence of a training benefit for emerging immersive technologies over desktop systems is inconclusive (Balint, 2021). To optimise future team training systems, it is important to develop an understanding of features endogenous to VEs that may positively affect team training and competency assessment. Building on an exploratory study (Balint, Stevens, Dudfield and Powell, 2020), this paper presents an empirical study that examined the effect of three features, immersion, presence, and psychological fidelity, on the ability of individuals to engage in teamwork. The study design was quasi-experimental between-subjects conducted remotely using an online game (PayDay 2). Seventy-seven experienced gamers were divided into 20 ad hoc teams and were asked to play a cooperative game, PayDay 2, on a desktop (14 teams) or an HMD (6 teams). Data analysis indicated that VE features examined did significantly predict perceived teamwork, over and above previous suggested confounds, such as usability and prior experience with the task and interface. However, not all factors had equal influence. Once usability of the system is perceived to be high enough, so as not to distract users from their task, presence appears to have the most influence on quality of teamwork. Thus, VE features need to be considered when designing systems due to their moderating effects on the ability of individuals to engage in teamwork. Furthermore, the results suggest that designers of future military VE team training systems should focus on maximising presence to support teamwork.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2022
Event2022 The Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) - Orlando, United States
Duration: 28 Nov 20222 Dec 2022


Conference2022 The Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC)
Country/TerritoryUnited States

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