Colin Sharkey 

MSc User Experience Design

I previously studied at IADT on the BA in Visual Communication programme and worked for a number of years as a visual designer and frontend developer. At present, I am working in Hertz as a full-stack UX designer and developer, where I am involved in the full life cycle of a product (from research to delivery), which the MSc User Experience Design course helped me with. The focus of the research I completed in this course was a combination of a personal interest in Virtual Reality (VR) with a work-related project that involved COVID training for the HR department. I took this opportunity to research a practical application for this emerging technology.

Project Description

This project involved researching, designing, developing and testing a Virtual Reality (VR) training application. The application was intended for Hertz staff, based in the Dublin office, to help with remote training. The training content was centred around Covid and the changes in the Hertz office to work on-site safely. The project applied the British Design Councils Double-diamond framework and followed a user-centred design approach. The application was iteratively designed and the final prototype was developed using A-Frame, a web framework for developing mixed reality applications.

Virtual Reality for Training: A comparative study of content delivery methods for workplace COVID training

The current global pandemic has forced many Irish workers to operate from home, placing pressure on human resources (HR) departments to care for their employees’ safety and well-being remotely. This research study explores how Virtual Reality (VR) can be used remotely to train staff on post-COVID changes to working on-site in a use case for the Hertz Dublin office. The study aimed to determine whether VR could be a more effective remote training method than 2D video presentations with Hertz staff. A VR training artefact was designed through a user-centred iterative approach and developed using A-Frame. A comparative study of both training methods, VR and video presentation evaluated the effectiveness, satisfaction, and cognitive load using the same training material. The results indicate that remote VR training did not significantly impact the effectiveness, satisfaction, or cognitive load. This research will benefit those considering VR as a practical training tool for use in the HR sector.