The Importance of Crew Resource Management Behaviors in Mission Performance: Implications for Training Evaluation
AIR FORCE RESEARCH LAB MESA AZ HUMAN EFFECTIVENESS DIRECTORATE
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Cockpitcrew resource management CRM training within the military has grown rapidly despite the paucity of empirical data linking CRM to mission performance. CRM training objectives and course content are often too vague to allow meaningful training evaluation within the context of traditional transfer-of-training paradigms. A multimeasure methodology that exploits all sources of archival and observational data within a training organization has the potential to advance training evaluation, particularly for crew-based skills such as CRM. This article discusses a variety of CRM data sources and presents findings using two of these sources instructor comments in student training folders and over-the-shoulder observations of crews in tactical simulators. Instructor comments revealed that CRM problems early in training most frequently involve decision making and communication among crew members. Over-the-shoulder observations of experienced crews showed high correlations between independent ratings of CRM proficiency and mission performance. The most effective crews exhibited such characteristic CRM behaviors as the presence of a single leader and willingness to change plans based on changing mission situations. The article closes by describing how these study data can be used to restructure CRM training into a set of behavior-based objectives that will enable meaningful evaluation of its effectiveness in improving the performance levels of all student crews.