Cyber Talk Radio: How Virtual Reality is Impacting the Training Model

Bret Piatt, CTR Host and Rob Dodson, DC Industries Senior Instructor and Red Cell San Antonio Executive Director - Episode 112 of Cyber Talk Radio

This past Sunday, November 18, episode 112 of Cyber Talk Radio hit the air on 1200 WOAI and iHeartRadio streaming. I was joined by Rob Dodson, DC Industries Senior Instructor and Red Cell San Antonio Executive Director, to discuss how virtual reality (VR) is impacting the training model and how they are using it for cybersecurity training in San Antonio.

Rob has been in training for many years and a consistent problem with training is retention of the knowledge and information. Many times training sessions involve death by PowerPoint. To better engage trainees, instructors have started introducing animation and videos to make the training content more interested. After reading an article about a Ractive, a company based at Port San Antonio, and the work they are doing with VR. Rob thought VR would be an excellent fit and viable solution combining the individual with the actual environment for training, especially for IT and cybersecurity training. In case you aren’t familiar with Ractive, they develop interactive VR experiences for training and entertainment. Many of Ractive's training experiences include simulated high-stress scenarios to improve decision-making and performance under pressure.

DC Industries, Red Cell San Antonio and Ractive have partnered up to disrupt the traditional training model with the introduction of VR into their cybersecurity training coursework. Beginning with their “Threat Actor Targeting and Exploitation – Cyber Espionage Course,” DC Industries will begin incorporating VR into any course that has a technical hands-on component. Following that course, they will include VR in their “Incident Response – A Virtual Reality Class,” which will be held in January 2019. Red Cell San Antonio and DC Industries have placed a focused on engaging veterans coming out of service interested in securing a job in IT or cybersecurity in these new VR training courses.

Where is VR at today? Google Cardboard is a good start for beginners. Rob uses Oculus for their training programs. The best thing about VR is it gives you the opportunity to replicate your network to test its security both offensively and defensively without actually affected the live network should anything go wrong. VR is not only being used in cybersecurity training. Doctors are practicing with VR for surgeries and other procedures as a effective training method. Where are we on the trajectory of VR being the conventional method of training? Is there a good amount of curriculum already development for VR training courses? Since this is still a new model of training, there is still lots of room for more people to get involved and develop VR curriculum and coursework. What skills do educators and curriculum developers need to learn to begin creating VR curriculum? You can teach yourself block programming languages like Unreal, Scratch, Tinkercab, to create 3D visuals so that trainees can immerse themselves in the environment. The Department of Defense is one of the biggest proponents of VR-based training and taking the lead in bringing VR to the training environment. The technology has advanced the capabilities of the training and has become more cost-effective for someone to start their own training program/classroom.

For anyone interested in getting VR-based IT or cybersecurity curriculum developed for their business, learn how to develop your own VR curriculum or wanting to be in a VR-based training program, reach out to Red Cell San Antonio and DC Industries for help! Listen to the full episode replay to learn more about how virtual reality is changing the world of training.

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