Usability and Utility of a Mobile Application for Marksmanship Training
DEFENCE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT TORONTO (CANADA) Toronto, Ontario Canada
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Mobile learning and embedded training technologies are being fielded by military organizations to ensure that learners can access training material anytime and anywhere. Recent advances in learning technologies and future weapon concepts offer the potential to offer anytime, anywhere training to new skill domains. The potential of these technologies to improve small arms coaching skills was investigated to test the willingness of soldiers to utilize anytime, anywhere self-directed training and to determine the utility and usability of embedding small arms coaching training in future weapons. In this experiment soldiers were first tested on their ability to identify shooting errors depicted in videos before they were issued with either a paper or digital small arms coaching training aid. The soldiers then retained the training aid for five days and were instructed to review the training material to prepare for a final test. At the final test session soldier reported they seldom used the training aid, yet their error detection ability improved. The gain was attributed to the testing effect of watching the videos, and interpreted as providing some evidence for the efficacy of digital media for training small arms coaching skills. The limited use of the training aids during the intervening period indicates that soldiers will not necessarily conduct anytime, anywhere self-directed training. Usability questionnaires and focus group discussions indicate that the soldiers prefer a combination of paper and digital small arms coaching training aids. It is recommended that a prototype small arms coaching aid be developed and that social support be provided where self-directed learning is expected of soldiers.