Scientific article
Open access

From Exploration to Re-Enactment: Instructional Uses of a Desktop Virtual Environment for Training Nuclear Plant Field Operators

Published inVocations and learning, vol. 14, no. 2, p. 327-352
Publication date2021-03-13
First online date2021-03-13

Despite the growing use of virtual environments for training in complex industrial settings, we have little understanding of how these innovative settings transform training and trainers everyday work. This study investigates the instructional use of an industrial building’s virtual environment by expert trainers during a training session for nuclear power plant field operators. Drawing from the course-of-action theoretical and methodological framework, field notes, continuous video-recording of the training sessions and verbalisations during post-training self-confrontation interviews with the trainers were collected and analysed. The results point out four typical instructional uses of the virtual environment in authentic settings: (a) showing the material elements and spatial layout of certain areas of the reactor building, (b) displaying safe and typical paths through the building, (c) explaining functional aspects to help trainees develop an operating model of the nuclear building, and (d) sharing salient experience through real-life anecdotes. These typical uses and their related learning dimensions are anchored in the re-enactments of expert trainer’s embodied past events. The discussion develops the counterintuitive idea that from an instructional point of view, the intensified immersion of trainers afforded by the virtual environment seems less influential than emerging practice-based learning experiences. We conclude with new possibilities for improving learning through and for work thanks to re-enactment of expert trainers’ past work practices.

Citation (ISO format)
DRAKOS, Artemis et al. From Exploration to Re-Enactment: Instructional Uses of a Desktop Virtual Environment for Training Nuclear Plant Field Operators. In: Vocations and learning, 2021, vol. 14, n° 2, p. 327–352. doi: 10.1007/s12186-020-09261-1
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1874-785X

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