recommended reading

Government Job Training: From the Mundane to 'The Matrix'

carlos castilla/

Training for a government job was once a mundane procession of lectures, note taking and No. 2 pencils. Then came personal computers and PowerPoints.

Now, more agencies are turning to virtual reality to give their training programs an added boost of authenticity, to help employees game plan on-the-job scenarios and to save money by doing more training from a distance.

The General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Institute recently posted solicitation documents seeking “a dynamic and interactive [virtual reality training] environment with novel artificial intelligence architecture, such as interactive challenges.”

The training program should be designed as a game with rewards for correct answers and be accessible remotely by computer, smartphone and tablet for up to 200 concurrent users, the document said.

This week the Homeland Security Department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis posted a solicitation seeking a virtual world module for its training programs. The DHS program is aimed at augmenting its existing training. The tasks it describes mirror traditional training students might do in person or over the Internet, such as attending lectures and working on group projects except in a virtual 3D environment.

Perhaps the most ambitious virtual reality training program in government is being implemented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That program for non-clinicians who help CDC field teams manage safety, stress management and “psychological first aid” aims to so closely mimic the experience of visiting a disease-ravaged African village that “trainees may temporarily forget it’s simulated.”

The CDC program launched in 2009. The agency awarded a $625,000 contract for four new virtual reality training modules to the Georgia-based company Virtually Better in August.

(Image via carlos castilla/

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.