The Virtual Reality Revolution is Here
When we look back many years ago to how Cabin Crew Safety & Emergency Procedures trainings were conducted to how they are today very little has changed, yes we now have PowerPoint instead of an overhead projector, a representative automated external defibrillator for cardiac arrest training and in some cases even door trainers which have a virtual slide which becomes visible when the door is opened in the armed/automatic mode, however are we providing our Cabin Crews with enough ‘hands on’ experience so that we allow them to get it wrong in the safe environment of the training arena and learn from mistakes so the same mistakes don’t happen again?
Training with Virtual Reality can and does provide vital learning opportunities to ensure Cabin Crew are familiar with SOPs, SEPs and their surroundings. How many of us can remember when we first walked onboard an aircraft as crew, all those different stowage doors that we had no clue or could not visualize from our classroom training what was behind them, how many of us working in an office building can hand on heart describe our exit route in the event of a fire or mass evacuation?
I recall a particular incident during a flight in which I was a part of the operating crew, we had an oven fire, the Cabin Crew carried out the fire fighting drill, the procedure was to test squirt the extinguisher prior to use, due to the design of the extinguisher, the crew member accidently dispersed the extinguisher at themselves during the highly stressful situation. In the post incident investigation the crew member advised that even though they had handled this identical piece of equipment many times in yearly training and also used it practically every 3 years the highly stressful situation they found themselves in and the lack of practical application contributed to the mistake. With this in mind I have often thought, had this crew member received more hands on training using Virtual Reality would the outcome have been different or would it have been the same? Which leads me to the question – does the way in which we conduct Cabin Crew Safety & Emergency Procedures Training need to be more interactive?