Decision-making Assessment and Development in Australian Football Umpires: Evaluation of 360° VR

Kittel, Aden ORCID: 0000-0002-9642-0055 (2020) Decision-making Assessment and Development in Australian Football Umpires: Evaluation of 360° VR. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


Many skills underpin the performance of sporting officials, however decision-making is regarded as the most critical. There are finite on-field opportunities to develop decision-making of sporting officials in training and competition, as a consequence, video-based approaches are typically used to assess and develop decision-making skill. Existing methods such as the use of match broadcast video may not be an ecologically valid method to present decision-making scenarios. With technological advancements, using virtual reality may improve the ecological validity of video-based approaches to improve decision-making. Study 1 systematically reviewed existing research utilising video-based testing to assess decision-making in officials, which often differentiates between skill levels to demonstrate construct validity. Study 1 identified several limitations including common use of match broadcast video, limited reporting of reliability, and studies often solely reporting number of decisions rather than performance accuracy. Comparison between video-based and in-game decision-making performance was rarely conducted. This study provided the foundation to further examine the efficacy of video- based tests in sporting officials. Study 2 developed two valid and reliable video-based tests, based on the recommendations of Study 1. As match broadcast video is the most common video-based testing method for officials, it was compared with 360° VR to assess decision-making accuracy. Both 360° VR and match broadcast video-based tests demonstrated construct validity and high reliability (r = 0.89). Stronger ecological validity was evident in 360° VR than match broadcast, as participants rated 360° VR to be more representative of in-game decision-making processes. Study 3 aimed to determine the relationship between decision-making accuracy in both video-based tests (360° VR and match broadcast) and in-game of elite Australian football umpires, given that this limitation of the research was identified in Study 1. Study 3 used validated video-based tests from Study 2. There were no significant relationships observed for decision-making accuracy between in-game and video-based testing. Studies 2 and 3 provide findings on testing, however it is unclear whether 360° VR or match broadcast is more effective for developing decision-making. Study 4 assessed the effectiveness of a video-based training program using 360° VR or match broadcast to develop decision-making in amateur Australian football umpires using a randomised control study design. Decision-making was assessed using the valid and reliable tests of Study 2 before, immediately following, and one month following training (retention test). The 360° VR group exhibited significantly higher decision-making accuracy (p < 0.05) than the control group at retention testing, with no between-group differences observed for the match broadcast group. Participants rated 360° VR as more relevant and enjoyable than match broadcast. In summary, this thesis aimed to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of 360° VR as a video-based testing and training tool in Australian football umpires. Although 360° VR and match broadcast appear to have strong construct validity and reliability, currently, there is limited transfer to in-game performance. Further, based on these results, it is not definitive whether 360° VR is a more effective training tool than match broadcast. The findings of this thesis indicate 360° VR may be more ecologically valid than match broadcast and warrants further investigation.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Current > FOR Classification > 0801 Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing
Current > FOR Classification > 1701 Psychology
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Current > Division/Research > College of Sports and Exercise Science
Keywords thesis by publication; video- based tests; video-based testing; sporting officials; football umpires; decision-making; 360° virtual reality; 360° VR; Australia
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