Empathy, Confidence, and De-Escalation

Evaluating the Effectiveness of VR Training for Crisis Communication Skills Development Among LIS Graduate Students


  • Rachel Williams University of South Carolina
  • Catherine Dumas State University of New York at Albany
  • Lydia Ogden Simmons University
  • Luke Porwol
  • Joanna Flanagan
  • Julia Tillinghast




virtual reality, patrons in crisis, usability, LIS graduate education, crisis communication, de-escalation


This research analyzes the results of a study that is part of a larger, interdisciplinary, and multi-institutional project that examines the usability and effectiveness of VR training for library and information science (LIS) graduate students and professionals in gaining skills for interacting effectively with patrons in crisis. This paper reports on the findings related to the effectiveness of VR training for teaching empathy, confidence, and de-escalation skills for LIS graduate students. The findings illustrate that VR has the potential to impact LIS graduate education by reaching a wider audience that introduces training in low-stakes, immersive environments and that does not pose harm to patrons in crisis. This study also contributes innovative approaches that support training in skills including empathy, confidence, and de-escalation.


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