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Michael Garrett

PhD candidate
Faculty of Education and Arts


From submarines to mines

My first foray into research began during my Honours year. Although I’d I signed up for that without any clue about research or what postgraduate study involved, I did want to do something with an industry focus. As luck would have it, my supervisor was able to arrange for an industry partner in the form of the Royal Australian Navy.

The Navy had already built a computer-generated, three-dimensional (3D) simulator of a section of their Collins class submarines and was interested in using this simulator for training purposes. My research project looked at effectively this simulator could help submariners to develop their spatial awareness. The study was received well overall and has already provided a foundation for one conference paper and one journal article.

After my Honours year, I was offered a Ph.D. scholarship. I accepted that, because I was keen for a challenge and because I had also become more interested in my chosen field of industry-related research. This time, thanks to effort of the staff at Edith Cowan University, I was able to obtain a partner in the mining industry.

As a PhD student, I had more time available to undertake a research project, so I studied the types of design frameworks needed to develop training platforms, that used gaming technology within a problem-based learning pedagogy for OH&S matters. Then I developed a 3-D training platform, that enabled training participants to use gaming technologies to address an emergency evacuation scenario within a real world mine. Data collected to date suggests participants do have a positive response to use of this simulator. While this study is still in progress, it has already served as the basis for a number of conference papers and journal articles.

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