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Happy Thursday! In this week’s issue we are covering virtual reality training. We'll start with a new article and review one from an older issue. Specifically, the articles aim to answer:

  • Are there learning outcome differences between VR and instructor training for safety in maritime mooring?
  • Is VR effective for social skills training?

Moor Virtual Reality Training

We’ve previously discussed using virtual reality (VR) training for a variety of purposes, such as learning dangerous skills. In this study, researchers continued that trend by evaluating VR safety training in a maritime setting with a non-WEIRD sample (Makransky & Klingenberg, 2022). Although White, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) samples in research may be beneficial in particular circumstances, it is important for research to expand in order for findings to be generalizable. For more information on WEIRD samples, check out this article in Psychology Today.

The main study in this article compared 2 groups of crew members that had previous mooring experience, but had to undergo formal training at a particular “international maritime training organization.” The first group of crew members went through training with a VR safety simulation, while the second group’s training was through personal trainer instruction (Makransky & Klingenberg, 2022). Specifically, the training was on dynamic risk assessment during a mooring operation. See the image for a view of the VR training simulation (Makransky & Klingenberg, 2022).

(Makransky & Klingenberg, 2022)

So, what did they find? The VR group was significantly higher in perceived enjoyment, intrinsic motivation, perceived learning, and behavioral change. In this context, behavioral change references the “trainee’s intentions to change safety behavior,” potentially pointing to a higher impact (Makransky & Klingenberg, 2022). Further, extraneous cognitive load was also found to be lower in the VR condition!

Makransky and Klingberg’s (2022) findings illustrate that VR safety training seems to have similar results for non-WEIRD samples! Of course, as with many findings from the VR training world, this is a specific population with a specific skill (i.e., dynamic risk assessment in a mooring operation); more research is needed to generalize to other training settings. Nonetheless, regarding skills that are difficult to train “in the moment,” VR training seems to hold up incredibly well - and the learners enjoy it too!

Key Takeaway(s): The findings from this study indicate that VR safety training, specifically on dynamic risk assessment in a mooring operation, is an effective tool. The VR training group showed significantly higher enjoyment, motivation, perceived learning, and intent to change safety behaviors! VR training can be used to “train procedures that are difficult to train in the real world,” which is particularly timely since we’re “in a global market where employees are increasingly cross-cultural and dislocated” (Makransky & Klingenberg, 2022).

**Note:* this was perceived learning and intent to change, which should be considered a bit differently than actual learning or change.

Read More (Open): Makransky, G., & Klingenberg, S. (2022). Virtual reality enhances safety training in the maritime industry: An organizational training experiment with a non-WEIRD sample. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning.

Flashback to Issue #12 - Virtual Reality is What We’re Living In

Researchers and practitioners have claimed that virtual reality provides realistic and immersive experiences that allow the technology to produce a wider range of scenarios than equivalent real-life training and development programs, which is believed to result in better outcomes. But is there evidence to support this? Researchers at the University of South Alabama and Montclair State University conducted a meta-analysis of studies related to using virtual reality training programs for social skill development. Their findings indicate that knowledge-based virtual reality training programs can be effective. In addition, they found that gamified VR training programs were just as effective as VR training programs with few or no game elements, casting doubt on the effectiveness of gamification for the development of social skills.

Key Takeaway: The results suggest that VR training programs are more effective than other types of training programs for developing social skills.

Read More ($): Howard, M.C. & Gutworth, M. B. (2020). A meta-analysis of virtual reality training programs for social skill development. Computers & Education, 144.

***Pssst! Here are some more fun articles on the topic that are open access:*

Events (from our Inbox)

Reader Hasmik provided the following event:

"Join The Learning Agency for a live online Ask-Me-Anything event June 15 from 1-2pm ET with Joshua Elder, Director and Head of Grantmaking at Siegel Family Endowment.

Joshua oversees Siegel’s education funding priorities, and will discuss topics including:

  • Their vision for a multidimensional infrastructure framework to reimagine education and learning spaces

  • Funding priorities within their learning portfolio

  • Characteristics of successful investments

This is a great opportunity to learn more about the Siegel Family Endowment’s funding priorities and learning portfolio, and ask Joshua any of your questions related to education funding.

Register for this free online event here. If you have any questions, email Hasmik at"

Pets of Learning Science Weekly

This week, we’re featuring Percy - brought to us by reader Yvonne! Percy is the fur-baby of a flute teacher. According to Yvonne, “every time I arrive for my lesson, I put my coat on the sofa. Percy immediately leaps onto the couch and curls up in my jacket for a cat nap. He doesn’t seem to mind my sour notes. LOL.” Thanks for sharing Mr. Percy! We love a musical fella 🎶

Send us your pet pics at

Wondering why we’re including animal photos in a learning science newsletter? It may seem weird, we admit. But we’re banking on the baby schema effect and the “power of Kawaii.” So, send us your cute pet pics -- you’re helping us all learn better!

The LSW Crew

Learning Science Weekly is written and edited by Katie Erhardt, Ph.D.

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