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Immersive Learning: An Important Part of Fire Service Training

Posted: March 9, 2023

The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA’s) Firefighter Immersive Learning Environment project is being conducted to:

  • Identify, assess and summarize available and emerging tools that can be used in immersive learning environments for the fire service.
  • Consider the impact of these immersive learning environments on firefighter skills, health and safety during training.

What is immersive learning?

Immersive learning environments make use of technologies like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) and simulation to create realistic environments for learning.

Why is immersive learning important for firefighting?

These environments are useful for training in the fire service, especially when live training would be dangerous, resource-intensive or very technically involved.

The reports

In January 2023, the NFPA released:

A Literature Review PDF that summarizes the current landscape of immersive learning in fire service training, focusing primarily on VR and AR.

A Focus Group Summary PDF that captures the outcomes of 5 fire training stakeholder focus groups. Stakeholders offered input on the pros and cons of using immersive training environments for fire service training and the role for immersive learning as a recruitment tool.

Both reports conclude that, in most cases, immersive learning is not currently viable as a replacement for live training. However, immersive learning environments are recommended as a very important part of blended learning and should, as technology continues to develop, evolve into a more important role.

This project is funded by a Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters Grant and is estimated to be completed by the third quarter of 2023.

This article is based on content in the
March 9, 2023 InfoGram.

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