When simulated environments make the difference: the effectiveness of different types of training of car service procedures

Simone Borsci*, Glyn Lawson, Davide Salanitri, Bhavna Jha

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    An empirical analysis was performed to compare the effectiveness of different approaches to training a set of procedural skills to a sample of novice trainees. Sixty-five participants were randomly assigned to one of the following three training groups: (1) learning-by-doing in a 3D desktop virtual environment, (2) learning-by-observing a video (show-and-tell) explanation of the procedures, and (3) trial-and-error. In each group, participants were trained on two car service procedures. Participants were recalled to perform a procedure either 2 or 4 weeks after the training. The results showed that: (1) participants trained through the virtual approach of learning-by-doing performed both procedures significantly better (i.e. p < .05 in terms of errors and time) than people of non-virtual groups, (2) the virtual training group, after a period of non-use, were more effective than non-virtual training (i.e. p < .05) in their ability to recover their skills, (3) after a (simulated) long period from the training—i.e. up to 12 weeks—people who experienced 3D environments consistently performed better than people who received other kinds of training. The results also suggested that independently from the training group, trainees’ visuospatial abilities were a predictor of performance, at least for the complex service procedure, adj R2 = .460, and that post-training performances of people trained through virtual learning-by-doing are not affected by learning styles. Finally, a strong relationship (p < .001, R2 = .441) was identified between usability and trust in the use of the virtual training tool—i.e. the more the system was perceived as usable, the more it was perceived as trustable to acquire the competences.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)83-99
    Number of pages17
    JournalVirtual reality
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


    • Automotive
    • Car service maintenance
    • Training effectiveness
    • Training evaluation
    • Virtual reality


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