WASHINGTON — The Defense Department has a new use for an existing technology that could replace classroom learning with the reality experience of 3‑D video, all with a touch of Hollywood flair.
To maximize what employees remember, DOD officials are using 3‑D immersion technology for Pentagon employees’ safety training. A 3‑D video viewer — similar to a child’s View-Master, which uses a series of 3‑D slides inside goggles — with a noise-reducing headset immerses the viewer in the training while blocking distractions such as ringing phones.
Dave Hodgson, president of 3‑D Experiential Training Co., which manufactured the product, said 3‑D creates a more memorable experience than two-dimensional media, so the user remembers it longer, noting that a study found that the more senses a person engages in and experiences, the deeper the impact and the longer the memory. His company’s system is based on that study, he added.
Increasing memory retention of safety rules and guidelines reduces time lost at work related to work injuries, accidents and property damage, said Brian Higgins of Washington Headquarters Services, who was instrumental in introducing the 3‑D program to the Pentagon. Particular safety concerns in the Pentagon are slips, trips and falls, and a lack of safety awareness by employees at work, he said.
The four-video training program is tailored to the Pentagon, and covers emergency readiness and evacuation, safety hazards and basic office safety. The videos were produced at the Pentagon with Defense Department workers to put viewers in a familiar setting to see how accidents might happen at work.
Common Pentagon safety devices are visible in the videos, so people can experience them, Higgins said. Viewers will see the luminescent strips along the Pentagon hallway floors that lead to exits, sliding doors that close off corridors to keep smoke from entering other parts of the building, and delayed-entry doors for security. All were added after Sept. 11, 2001.
Using 3‑D technology to teach safety awareness in the Pentagon is an attempt to “attach people personally and emotionally to the consequences” associated with accidents, Hodgson said.
“It was a matter of connecting them so they could add a meaning or value to … the hazards in their environment,” he added. “Safety is a difficult topic. Generally, it’s boring and mundane information. We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to convey the message, and get people’s attention so they take it seriously.”
The Pentagon system cost $200,000 for the 12-station hardware and video production, Hodgson said.
The Defense Safety Oversight Council, created to reduce safety mishaps, sponsored the 3‑D immersion technology training, and Defense officials say it is fully operational at the Pentagon and at Anniston Army Depot in Alabama.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)