Paraverse shows power of co-design

A new approach to training military parachutists through virtual-reality simulators has been developed by West Australian academics working with the Australian Defence Force.

Dr Brennan Mills and a team from Edith Cowan, Curtin and Murdoch Universities have written a new paper on the value of co-design in developing the Paraverse, as the new high-tech training environment is called.

While co-design has long been used to refine technological education aides in health and other sectors, there had been little attention paid to the importance of working with military collaborators to design effective training for soldiers, the researchers found.

Drawing together Special Operations soldiers with virtual reality and education design staff, the Paraverse project developed a new tool to teach special operations soliders advanced tactics, techniques and procedures involved in parachute training, replacing an earlier virtual reality model.

While noting that effective co-design could be time-consuming and labour intensive, the researchers found that integrating co-design from the start of the project. By capturing the majority of co-design information required at an initial workshop, the education design team had a clear view of specifications and requirements, with occasional ongoing input improving training outcomes through relatively minor design tweaks as the project progressed.

The researchers found the co-design project enabled them to focus university educational design expertise on the needs specified by military trainers, creating a significantly superior educational experience – a process relevant to future projects.

“Co-design of innovation, particularly that working across the nexus of Defence and academia, provides a defined avenue for knowledge, experiences, and insights of end-users to impact innovation design.”



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