Research update: Dr. Vitor Reis' PhD research on decision making using XVR and Effective Command

08 okt

Vitor Reis, Deputy Director of Portugal’s National Fire Academy ENB (Escola Nacional de Bombeiros) was awarded a PhD from the Universidade Aberta.

Dr. Reis’s study was focused at applying virtual reality simulation (VRS) in the training of firefighters to develop decision-making competences, through the design of a training course to update the fire officers in the field of operations management. The XVR Simulation Platform was used to execute the study. The Effective Command methodology was applied to measure competence-based performance.

The analysis of the trainees' performance and the evaluation made on the training during the PhD study leads to the conclusion that the use of virtual reality simulation develops decision-making competencies in the management of fire & rescue operations.

Dr. Reis defended his thesis on 12th June of 2018 before the Committee chaired by Professor Doutor Adérito Marcos from the Universidade Aberta.

The Committee members were:

Professor Doutor Joaquim Lopes – Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro

Professora Doutora Irene Tomé – Universidade Nova de Lisboa - FCSH

Professora Doutora Natália Vara – Instituto Politécnico de Bragança – ESS

Professora Doutora Lina Morgado – Universidade Aberta

Professora Doutora Cláudia Neves – Universidade Aberta

Portugal’s National Fire Academy is responsible for education and training of over 30.000 professional and volunteer fire fighters in Portugal. The Academy have been an active user of the XVR Simulation Platform and the Effective Command methdology for many years. The Academy’s VR simulation centre in Sintra is a best practice example of an well designed and professionally run simulation facility for safety & security training.

Research summary

The study was carried out through the action-research method, in which in the first cycle we started with an initial diagnosis to identify the main constraints and opportunities for improvement that should be considered in the planning of the training proposal. The training program was designed based on competencies considered critical to decision-making by a panel of experts. The planning and design of pedagogical resources resulted from a collaborative work between the researcher and a team of five internal ENB trainers who participated actively in the activities developed throughout the study. A pilot training action was carried out in a group of eight internal and external trainers from ENB, in which data were collected on the performance of trainees and in the evaluation of training. In the last step, corrections and improvements to the training action were identified. In the second cycle of action-research, the steps were repeated, with the formal implementation of the training action for eight fire officers of several fire brigades in the country. The evaluation of the impact of the changes introduced was carried out through a comparative analysis of the learning outcomes, the assessments given by the trainees of the two groups and the evaluation of the team of trainers on the training action.

The original thesis is in Portuguese. It can be downloaded at this URL

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