The Lived User Experience of Virtual Environments: Initial Steps of a Phenomenological Analysis in a Safety Training Setting

Marko Teräs, School of Information Systems, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia
Hanna Teräs, School of Education, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia
Torsten Reiners, School of Information Systems, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia


Virtual environments (VEs) are making their way into various sectors of life to enhance and support human activity, including learning. VEs have been used in various contexts for training, and in many cases they are designed to model or simulate - as accurately and authentically as possible - a specific work context. In striving for authenticity, visual and representative realism tends to receive most of the development input, despite of several studies that challenge its importance. New training avenues have raised the importance of rigorous phenomenological descriptions for a deeper understanding of user experience in the actual context of use. This paper reports the preliminary steps in a phenomenological analysis of how employees working in actual hazardous settings experience virtual safety training environments. Such open-ended research project can reveal new aspects of user experience that can advice the development and evaluation of human-computer interaction in digital technology-enhanced training contexts.