ICF determined whether a distributed training capability, specifically a virtual world platform, would support the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Disaster Emergency Medical Personnel System (DEMPS). DEMPS volunteers perform medical, engineering, maintenance, food service, and emergency support services across the United States. Given the wide array of logistical challenges and training needs, ICF identified state-of-the-art virtual systems that provide anytime, anywhere learning appropriate for the DEMPS audience.
DEMPS was challenged with how best to train more than 9,000 medical personnel, and the task involved providing hands-on, collaborative training for geographically dispersed volunteers. ICF’s approach was twofold: analyzing DEMPS training requirements and needs and assessing distributed and virtual training platforms. ICF also conducted a high-level media study of DEMPS competency-based training to gain a specific understanding of instructional content and to identify competencies suited for simulation. In addition, ICF reviewed DEMPS mission exercises.
To identify the most appropriate and state-of-the-art virtual training platform, ICF conducted a literature review of best practices in using simulation for training. In addition, ICF attended conferences to learn about new technologies and advancements and conducted interviews with virtual world technology users. Systems were down-selected and exhaustively evaluated for DEMPS suitability, and ICF conducted a stakeholder workshop and interviews to capture barriers and recommendations based on the final report. Currently, ICF is designing the virtual world training system based on this report.