A service member puts on a headset with a screen for each eye.He’s given a joystick that’s built with low-frequency vibrations and sounds, mirroring the vehicle he drove while on the battlefield. As he navigates through the virtual combat world, his head movements are tracked with an orientation system. Pre-fabricated smells mimicking burning rubber and weapons firing are released into the air, and the service member ventures into virtual war.
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Renae Kleckner
This is the new Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET) being studied by National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2), a Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury center. T2 is currently researching this therapy, which places service members face-to-face with their unique experiences on the battlefield to help treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and to help service members process memories. Once the study is completed, this unique treatment will be offered to service members and veterans.
“The whole treatment is customized to their memory, down to the day, time, weather conditions, location in the convoy and the combat stimuli themselves,” said Dr. Greg Reger, T2 lead psychologist. “The purpose is to activate the experience to increase emotional engagement, so they can process that memory.”
The study reviews the effectiveness of VRET by comparing it to prolonged exposure therapy. T2 conducted the trial based on growing evidence that VRET is an effective treatment for PTSD and because this form of therapy may help reach service members who might otherwise avoid traditional talk therapies because of perceived stigma. (more…)
Carol Wall is a project manager in AETC's Future Learning Division. (Photo: US Air Force)
Carol Wall is a project manager in the Future Learning Division at the Air Education and Training Command (AETC). She has worked for AETC for 14 years.
It will come as no surprise that the Air Force has a systematic approach for just about everything, including how our instruction is developed!
Our formal process is called Instructional System Development, or ISD, and it applies to all personnel who plan, design, develop, implement, approve, administer, conduct, evaluate, or manage Air Force instruction. The goal of Air Force ISD is to ensure our personnel are trained to do their job in the most cost efficient and effective way possible.
In many ways, our education and training have remained unchanged for quite some time. The ISD process has served us well and will continue to be a solid basis for our course development efforts. The one area in which we will need to make some updates or to at least think differently is in our design, and that design will rely heavily on good analysis.
We are experimenting with presenting instruction in virtual worlds and using mobile applications for ancillary course delivery and also for mobile referencing. In this departure from traditional classroom instruction, we will need to carefully consider the context of our instruction. Since a virtual or mobile learning environment can be just about anything, the task of designing instruction will be more extensive and complex which will make designing instruction more time consuming than traditional classroom instruction.