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Testing Simulation Platforms to Accelerate Optimal Military Decision-Making in a Platoon-Formation Task


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Training an infantry officer to select the proper platoon formation during a military operation traditionally requires a large dedication of training assets. Infantry training would benefit from further development of high-capacity training on commonly available platforms. In 2018, a computer based simulated platoon-formation decision task (PFDT) was created and the Cognitive Alignment with Performance Targeted Training Intervention Model (CAPTTIM) was utilized to ascertain which participants reached optimal decision-making and when it occurred. This study built upon that work by refining and testing PFDT across two prevalent platforms. The PFDT included 32 scenarios, each randomly presented four times for a total of 128 trials. Five factors were manipulated in the scenarios and a SME confirmed the optimal, acceptable, and poor decision responses. Twenty-seven students at The Basic School and Naval Postgraduate School completed the PFDT in one of three platforms: tablet, virtual reality (VR), or VR with formations (which provided participants the ability to depict formations onto virtual backgrounds). CAPTTIM indicated no platform effect existed on the number of trials needed to reach optimal decision-making. Additionally, participants experience levels did not impact whether experts or novices reached optimal decision-making prior to the other. The PFDT is thus a viable military training simulator regardless of technological platform utilized or amount of infantry training.



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