After the electric power system is damaged, typically by major weather events such as tropical storms or ice storms, utilities are highly motivated to restore power as quickly as possible. One factor considered by state regulatory agencies when setting rates is how quickly power is restored after outages. (New York Public Service Commission, p. 10, 99) In these major outages, personnel not normally assigned to field work perform damage assessment, freeing trained line workers for repairs. Training for these damage assessors is critical, and utility management is reportedly unhappy with the current effectiveness of their assessors. (Freeman, et al., p. 5-6) (Kullman, 2013) (Cadman, 2015)
Virtual Reality (VR) is especially appropriate for training when the physical environment and equipment needed to acquire and practice skills are either dangerous or expensive, or both. When the electric power grid is damaged, damage assessors are dispatched to inspect the system and report on the damage. Clearly, it would be difficult and expensive to create a damaged electrical grid to practice on, and dangerous to have inexperienced assessors working in a real storm-damaged system that can contain many hazards. Therefore, VR training is an excellent fit for this application.
A project has been undertaken to create a VR training course for use in preparing utility damage assessors. This portfolio documents a pilot project, which will be used both to gather data before completion of the complete course and as a demonstration to gain support and funding for the project.
Instructional Design Principles
Relevant Professional Associations