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Validation of Virtual Environments Incorporating Virtual Operators for Procedural Learning

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Technical memorandum

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This paper presents the results of an experiment to assess the validity of a prototype simulation to train individuals to perform a task as part of a team. The application domain is Maritime Helicopter-Ship operations and the task selected is that of a Landing Signals Officer LSO coordinating the approach and landing of a helicopter onboard Canadian Forces frigates. The simulation includes physics-based models of the helicopter, ship, and the environment as well as a human factors approach to representation of team mates by computer-generated, behavioral agents. A reverse transfer of training experiment was conducted to assess how three groups, each initially differing in domain knowledge, acquired the necessary procedural knowledge, verbal communications, and manual actions to complete the task without error. Thirty subjects participated in the experiment. Ten subjects were assigned to each of three groups -- Naive, Aircrew, and LSO -- as determined by their initial domain knowledge. Subjects played the role of an LSO in a repeated measures experimental design, conducting 16 approaches and landings of a Maritime Helicopter onto a CF Halifax Class Frigate. The reverse transfer of training hypothesis is that if the training technique is fit for purpose, expert subjects LSOs will adapt to the simulation quickly and demonstrate performance at criterion level nonexpert subjects Aircrew and Naive groups will initially perform poorly but then improve with training to approach criterion level. Failure of the expert group to perform well or the untrained group to improve at a reasonable rate is indicative of an environment that is not fit for purpose. The simulation was found to be valid for training the procedural tasks required of the LSO occupational specialty however, it was found to be inadequate for training the fine, visual judgements involved in directing the helicopter over the deck. Further work is required to improve this feature of the simulation.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Aircraft Operations
  • Computer Programming and Software
  • Cybernetics
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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