Found 154 Papers
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Volume 2012
Evaluating Immersion in Training Environments

Year: 2012

Authors: Krista Ratwani, Webb Stacy, Alexandra Geyer, Scott Pappada, Emily Weise

Abstract:

Within both research and practice, immersion is a topic that has received a lot of attention. The military, in particular, has invested a lot of time and money into creating "immersive" training environments in the hopes of providing personnel with training experiences that prepare them for many different types of encounters. Despite this interest, significant questions remain unanswered regarding the training value of such environments. A review of the literature on training in virtual environments reveals an assumption that higher immersion obtained through increased simulation fidelity results in improved training effectiveness and transfer. However, researchers who have attempted to evaluate this assumption have yet to produce compelling evidence. Further, there is no clear consensus regarding what constitutes immersion. For example, some researchers describe immersion as a state or feeling (e.g., Witmer & Singer, 1998), while others conceptualize it as a physical attribute of the training environment (e.g., Slater, 2003). This lack of agreement over the definition of immersion magnifies questions about its influence in the learning process.

Before the impact of immersion on learning and performance can be properly assessed, a clear operational definition must be provided that distinguishes immersion from other related concepts. Among other things, a meaningful definition will facilitate the development of good measures. Such measures are essential to any large-scale research effort because they provide standardization across efforts, including research evaluating the impact of immersion on training effectiveness. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to provide a multilevel operational definition of immersion, as well as methods for the creation and real-time measurement of immersion, as it relates to learning in training environments. This analysis is the first step in aiding training designers in determining what level of immersion is required to facilitate effective training.

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Live or Virtual Military Training? Developing a Decision Algorithm

Year: 2012

Authors: Christina Curnow, Robert Wisher, Frank DiGiovanni

Abstract: This paper describes the development of a decision algorithm for determining what military tasks can be taught virtually (e.g., simulator, advanced distributed learning) and which tasks should only be taught in classroom or field environment (live). The decision algorithm, based on a DoD study, addressed both individual and collective tasks across the military Services. The goal was to develop a user-friendly system to aid military training developers in making ‘first-cut’ decisions about training delivery methods, specifically live or virtual. To develop the algorithm, we first examined thousands of military training tasks, reviewed the literature on training tasks and developed a rating system to categorize tasks. The categorization scheme resulted in a variety of task classes with each class encompassing common training characteristics (e.g., level of interactivity or availability of feedback). We conducted an extensive review of the research literature and developed rating factors, which formed the basis of the live vs. virtual decision model. We then drew a random sample of 302 military tasks, categorized the tasks and then applied the rating factors to each task category. Next, using the rating factors we developed a decision algorithm for determining whether each class of tasks can be adequately trained using virtual technologies (costs withstanding) or whether it would be necessary to train the task in a live application. The algorithm is based on a variety of elements from established, peer-reviewed research, current technology, and current military practices. Finally, we applied the algorithm to the task categories developed earlier in the project and conducted an initial validation of the algorithm with training developers. In addition to describing the development and validation process, we will solicit feedback and comments from audience members for consideration during further development, validation, and refinement of the algorithm.

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Establishing a Classified U.S. Training Network Enclave in Australia

Year: 2012

Authors: Gerald McGowan, Allan Deacon

Abstract: In July 2011, the newly appointed Australian Chief of Joint Operations (CJOPS) requested Joint Staff, J7, Director, Joint Force Development to assist in extending the Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System (CENTRIXS) International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Training Federation (CX-I TF) to Australian combat training centers to support Australian Forces pre-deployment training. CX-I is the U.S. Secret releasable to ISAF national network that connects into the Afghanistan Mission Network (AMN). CX-I TF is the associated U.S. releasable to ISAF training network. U.S. and Australia forces share command in Afghanistan and CX-I provides the common network for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) as well as U.S. and Australian access into AMN. This paper provides the background evolution of the AMN, CX-I, and CX-I TF. We will then discuss the initial obstacles faced when presented the CJOPS request, including policy, logistics and security concerns. The paper describes the processes used and the policies and procedures developed during Use Case #1, extending CX-I TF for a demonstration event in November 2011. It will then describe the approach taken by the team for Use Case #2 to extend CX-I TF in support of Australian pre-deployment training in May 2012. The paper discusses policy, procedures, and goals for Use Case #3 that will be in place by August 2012 making the extension a permanent U.S. - Australia training capability. The paper closes with a presentation of lessons learned that can be applied to similar extensions to partner enclaves quickly and securely meeting emerging requirements.

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Improving Software Development Cost Estimation Models

Year: 2012

Authors: Rodney Figaroa, Scott Nelson, Karen Williams, Charles Stroup, Arlene Minkiewicz, Bob Koury

Abstract: Program Executive Office Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI) is utilizing a new code counting methodology to estimate future cost for software development products. In 2011, PEO STRI awarded two contracts in support of the One Semi-Automated Forces (OneSAF) program valued at more than $90M. For the first time ever, a requirement for the delivery of a Software Resources Report (SRR) was placed on each contract. The SRR is expected to be used to obtain the estimated characteristics of a software product and its development process. The intent of the SRR process is to collect objective measurable data commonly used by industry and Department of Defense (DoD) cost analysts. These data are used to compile a repository of estimated software product sizes, schedules, and effort that Government analysts can draw upon to build credible size, cost, and schedule estimates of future software-intensive systems. Information to be acquired through these data will include descriptive information about the product and developer and estimates of software product size, development schedule, peak staff, and direct labor hours. The paper will describe the Government's intent for use of the SRR, and describe the current state of this pilot program. The paper will detail the processes, the tool, participants, OneSAF unique challenges, methodologies and data. In conclusion, we will present the findings, lessons learned and recommendation for the future implementation of this product.

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Achieving Modular AI through Conceptual Abstractions

Year: 2012

Authors: Kevin Dill, Eugene Pursel, Pat Garrity, Gino Fragomeni

Abstract:

Many Artificial Intelligence (AI) approaches have been employed for controlling autonomous characters in games and simulations but, regardless of approach, a software engineer ultimately has to write the code which drives each of the AI's decisions. This process can be expensive and time consuming, particularly if we want our AI to provide appropriate, realistic responses in a wide variety of situations. Ultimately, the complexity of this task is one of the major limiting factors on the quality of our characters.

Although there are a nearly infinite number of possible decisions which an AI might have to make, there is tremendous duplication in the concepts used to make these decisions. For example, many different decisions account in one way or another for the distance between two positions, the availability of some resource (such as money or ammo), or the amount of time which has elapsed since some recent event. The challenge, then, is to find abstractions for these duplicated concepts which allow us to work with them in a coherent way.

This paper identifies a number of these sorts of conceptual abstractions. The abstractions are architecture agnostic, making them useful regardless of decision making strategy. They enable us to employ a modular approach to AI configuration in which the programmer only writes source code the first time that he implements a new concept. From that point forward he simply specifies the configuration of each component in XML, relying on the architecture to instantiate and initialize an object of the appropriate type. This greatly reduces code duplication (and the corresponding opportunities for errors). Furthermore, the XML configuration itself reflects the modularity of the underlying architecture, thus allowing the AI architect to think at the granularity of abstract concepts rather than individual lines of code and greatly simplifying the complexity of configuration.

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Future Training for Junior NCOs in Garrison during Expanded Dwell Times

Year: 2012

Authors: Kara Orvis, Jeffrey Fite, Krista Ratwani

Abstract: For the past ten years Army non-commissioned officer (NCO) training has necessarily focused on developing essential wartime skills that influence combat effectiveness. However, as deployments decrease and Soldiers begin to return home, NCOs must focus on other duties related to effectively leading, training and maintaining Soldier and unit performance while in garrison. Most warfighters agree that leading in garrison is more difficult in many respects and may require the application of leadership skills and processes in a manner that is different from leading in theater. While attention is now turning to address NCO garrison training needs, many discussions have focused on emulating past garrison environments, with leaders focusing on basic soldiering and discipline (e.g., Tan, 2011a). Although those are important foci, conceptualizing garrison leadership solely from pre-9/11 experiences may not meet the training needs of today's NCOs, as both Soldiers and missions have changed. It is likely that leading in garrison for 2012 and beyond will require some different knowledge and skills than leading in garrison during the 1980s and 1990s. The purpose of this research was to examine concerns related to leaders being prepared for the challenges that they may face in the garrison environment during expanded dwell times and develop recommendations related to how leaders can best meet those challenges. The results of this research provide recommendations for how to best prepare leaders and Soldiers to operate within the garrison environment and are based on semi-structured focus groups conducted with Army enlisted Soldiers, NCOs and officers.

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A General Framework for Developing Training Apps on Android Devices

Year: 2012

Authors: Jeremy Ludwig, Robert Richards, Bart Presnell, Dan Fu

Abstract: Handheld applications (apps), such as those run on Android and iPhone devices, hold the possibility of revolutionizing military training by increasing the availability and engagement of training material. This paper describes progress on software design and development towards a general framework for deploying Android training apps. A primary objective is to allow nonprogrammers to reuse existing content to create training apps that make full use of the capabilities offered by mobile devices. The described prototype implementation includes a web page where the end user fills out a form, uploads content, and receives an email with a link that they can follow (and share with others) to download their app directly to their device. The main contributions of this paper are: The requirements that led to the framework design, the description of the implemented framework, and a summary of qualitative feedback received from targeted demonstrations. While this framework has been developed with a focus on military training, it is broadly applicable in a civilian educational setting as well.

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Urban Short Range Interaction: An LVC Solution for Urban Operation Training

Year: 2012

Authors: Tijmen Muller, Robbert Krijnen, Gillian Visschedijk

Abstract:

Urban Operations are an increasingly important part of military operations, both nationally and during expeditions. The complexity of the urban environment makes these operations difficult, and a key aspect of this complexity is the presence of local population. The individual soldier needs to constantly analyze unclear situations, predict civilians' intentions and be able to rapidly make decisions in order to both ensure their own safety and prevent lethal mistakes, which would endanger the goodwill of the population. Gaining experience with civilians through training is essential for successful execution of urban operations.

In the Urban Training programs of the Royal Netherlands Army live training facilities are available, but a varied group of well-trained role players is scarcely available and costly to use. This paper presents the result of a three year research project into an innovative enhancement to live training for Urban Short Range Interaction (USRI). In this concept, trainees enter a live, physical environment (a room) enriched with virtual role players (projected on the wall) that respond directly to the user's actions.

A technical demonstrator was developed that integrates commercial-off-the-shelf elements, such as a gesture and a speech recognition system. We report on the user value analysis that was carried out with various parties in the Defense and Safety domain, presenting the phases in the training programs where the application of USRI has the most training value. Finally, we describe the system requirements that have been evaluated with the intended users.

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Comparing Training Transfer of Simulators: Desktop versus Wearable Interfaces

Year: 2012

Authors: John Barnett, Grant Taylor

Abstract:

The use of simulators for training provides advantages over training in the field, but often at the cost of reduced realism. New ideas in interface design promise to reduce this potential disadvantage of simulation-based training while maintaining its benefits. One such design is the use of a wearable computer in which the simulator interface is embedded into a Soldier's load-bearing equipment, allowing the user's natural body movements to become inputs into the simulator environment. This type of interface may be more immersive and have advantages over traditional desktop interfaces. This research seeks to identify training benefits of this wearable interface relative to a more traditional desktop computer.

To evaluate the system, participants with no prior military experience were trained in hostage rescue procedures in a game-based simulation environment using either a wearable or desktop interface. A control group was trained in the same procedures in a live action condition. Following training, each group completed a series of missions in the live condition, with their performance video and audio recorded for scoring purposes. Participants were scored on the number of correct actions and the time to complete each mission. Results indicated that participants trained in the live condition performed better and were faster than those trained in either simulator condition. However, there were no significant differences between the simulator conditions for performance or speed. This indicates that although the wearable interface was expected to provide better training than the desktop interface, each interface provided equivalent levels of training transfer. These results underscore the importance of determining the training effectiveness of novel training methods before fielding. Although a novel training method may appear to be superior to more traditional methods, the new method should still be evaluated empirically to determine its training effectiveness.

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Virtual Locomotion Concepts and Metrics Study: Experimentation and Results

Year: 2012

Authors: Timothy Roberts, Jay Saffold, Pat Garrity

Abstract: The U.S. Army Research Laboratory Simulation and Training Technology Center has been performing research in the field of virtual locomotion for multiple years with the main goal of finding the most naturalistic virtual locomotion design. This paper extends the results of a previous study which categorized and defined virtual locomotion technologies for use in immersive dismounted training into an experimentation phase. For the live experimentation baseline, a live Military Operations in Urban Training facility was used. At this facility, data were collected to support metrics provided in the previous study. In order to collect this data, site instrumentation and measurement apparatus were installed for a baseline system reference experiment. For position and accuracy measurements, the instrumentation included a surveyed path with time, space, position indicator sensors and other devices (live video). For fatigue measurement, a heart monitor was used to measure rate before and after the course was exercised. Using this live reference as a baseline, a subset of the key categories defined from the previous virtual locomotion technology study were tested, compared and contrasted to the absolute measurements and metrics collected. The virtual locomotion technology experiments were performed in a controlled indoor facility over a course which technically matches the live experiment. Desktop gaming systems and hybrid capture techniques were chosen as the virtual locomotion systems categories to compare to the baseline. This paper discusses the experimental set-up of each case, the metrics and measurements used to compare and contrast the systems, the results of the experiments, lessons learned, and a summary of results.

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