SITIS Archives - Topic Details
Program:  SBIR
Topic Num:  N07-078 (Navy)
Title:  Incorporating Affective Stressors in Virtual Training Environments
Research & Technical Areas:  Human Systems

Acquisition Program:  PM TRAINING SYSTEMS, PMA-205 and NAVAIR TSD
  Objective:  Virtual Environment (VE) training systems typically focus on developing providing either cognitive or psychomotor types of training. A third category of training, the affective domain, is poorly addressed by these types of tools. The goal of this topic is to develop a technique and technology that inserts an affective component into virtual environments. This will result in more effective training, which, in turn should lead to enhanced transfer of skills for Navy and Marine Warfighters while reducing the cost (time and money) to deliver this training.
  Description:  Bloom’s taxonomy (Bloom et al, 1956) provides one of the most well-known foundations for developing targeted learning applications. The taxonomy decomposes learning into three types of behaviors: Cognitive, which focuses on gaining and manipulating information; Psychomotor, which focuses on hands-on types of skills; and, Affective, the attitudes that students have towards learning. Currently, VE training systems focus primarily on the first two learning domains, while ignoring the third. Yet, evidence suggests that student attitudes towards learning, even on very simple, low fidelity, types of VE systems may have a significant, positive impact on the rate with which materials are learned (Kulik & Kulik, 1991) as well as the effectiveness of this learning (Torkzadeh, Pflughoeft, & Hall, 1999). In the absence of this third domain, training may take longer, and be less effective, resulting in lower returns on investment. There is currently no well established process for developing, implementing and assessing how to structure affective learning nor is their guidance for how to develop tools to support implementing any such structure within VE. One promising avenue for research focuses on developing systems that increase a trainee’s sense of presence and immersion (Maria & Chalmers, 2001; Meehan, et al’, 2005). By imparting a sense of ‘being there’ these systems could force trainees to develop learning strategies similar to those elicited by real world contexts, leading to a more effective type of learning that would be more likely to transfer and generalize to operational settings. There is mounting evidence that training for high pressure/high intensity environments is best accomplished using training environments that are similar to these domains (Seidel & Chatelier, 1997). This suggests that affective learning can be included into VE systems, by introducing a context specific approach to enhancing immersion.

  PHASE I: Develop a framework for introducing an affective component to learning. Focus on a model that leverages scaffolding approaches, in which different learning behaviors are interdependent in a hierarchical fashion and that combines them with other elements that create an immersive experience (capitalizing on stimulating different sensory modalities). This framework should include an architecture for determining trainee context, instructional context, desired approaches for creating immersion and a set of strategies for aligning these contexts. Product should be an Affective Strategies Matrix that maps affective capabilities to learner states and a plan for developing a tool to implement this in real time, integrated with a VE – based training system.
  PHASE II: Develop prototype system, to be used as a component for Navy-Marine Corps virtual training applications (e. g., flight simulation, dismounted infantry training) and conduct empirical study for validation. Develop and implement Training Effectiveness Evaluation to assess utility of incorporating affective learning into VE training.

  PHASE III: Produce and market Affective Training Network stand alone capability for integration with existing or planned virtual systems for the Navy/Marine Corps.

  COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL: This methodology will have widespread applications to military, government, and private sector organizations in which human-centered training systems are designed and developed and where SIT is required (e.g., law enforcement, fire fighting, medical responders, phobia treatment, etc.).

  References:   1. Bloom, B., Englehart, M. Furst, E., Hill, W., & Krathwohl, D. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. Handbook I: Cognitive domain. New York, Toronto: Longmans, Green. 2. Kulik, C.C. & Kulik, J.A. (1991). Effectiveness of computer-based instruction: An updated analysis. Computers in Human Behaviour, 7, 75-94. 3. Mania, K., & Chalmers, A. (2001). The Effects of Levels of Immersion on Memory and Presence in Virtual Environments: A Reality Centered Approach. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 4, 247-264. 4. Meehan, M,. S. Razzaque, B. Insko, M. Whitton, F. Brooks, (2005) "Review of Four Studies on the Use of Physiological Reaction as a Measure of Presence in Stressful Virtual Envieronments," Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 30 (3), 239-258. 5. Seidel, R.J . & Chatelier, P.R. (1997) Virtual Reality: Training’s Future? Plenum Press, NY. 6. Torkzadeh, R., Pflughoeft, K., & Hall, L. (1999). Computer self-efficacy, training effectiveness and user attitudes: An empirical study. Behaviour & Information Technology. 18:4, 299-309.

Keywords:  training systems; human-centered design; system requirements specification; requirements engineering; system architecture; human performance, stress inoculation training (SIT)

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