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Featured Training Effectiveness

The Department of Defense is always looking for ways to improve training realism for warfighters while also working with restrictive budgets, which has led to a concerted investment in more innovative training and simulation technologies. While simulation-based training technologies address concerns with regards to budgetary pressures, serious challenges remain with regards to quantifying training efficacy for warfighters, especially pilot training, primarily because of the lack of standardized evaluation and diagnostic practices.

A recent whitepaper penned by experts at Collins Aerospace, the University of Iowa Operator Performance Lab (OPL), CogniSens Applied Research Center (ARC), and the University of Montreal Faubert Lab titled Define “Expert”: Characterizing Proficiency for Physiological Measures of Cognitive Workload explores how these evaluations can be made more objective and standardized with the help of performance-based and physiological metrics in the pilot training process. “Evaluating physiological responses in a trainee can provide critical, quantitative and diagnostic information regarding the level of engagement in the training event and overall performance,” stated the whitepaper’s introduction.

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The whitepaper reports on a study performed by Collins Aerospace, the University of Iowa OPL, CogniSens ARC, and the University of Montreal Faubert Lab with novice pilots that aimed to evaluate a hypothesis that the combination of physiological measures and task-specific metrics can determine a trainee’s cognitive loading and engagement, which provides a method to assess the efficacy of training devices and content. The study was extended to include competent and expert pilots as well the following year.

“The purpose of this follow-on study was two-fold: to further validate the approach for measuring training effectiveness, and to characterize the effect of pilot education and experience on cognitive workload, spare cognitive capacity, and task-specific performance,” according to the whitepaper’s abstract. “Through this research, we have defined an initial set of standards for the interplay between cognitive workload and performance associated with various learner proficiency levels.”

You can learn more about improving the measurement of pilot training efficacy through standardized cognitive and physiological measurement by downloading the whitepaper in our resource center here.

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