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Training Technology

Hard Wired for Learning nAWcTSD is exploring physiological monitoring to provide data that will optimize training effectiveness. Chuck Weirauch explains.


re trainees really learning to the best of their ability? Instructors (and researchers) want to know! Research being conducted at the naval Air Warfare center Training Systems Division (nAWcTSD) in orlando is aimed at answering just that question. In two nAWcTSD projects, researchers are examining if, and how, a student’s physiological and performance data can be used to improve training effectiveness.

QTEa one of the more intriguing exhibits at I/ITSec 2008 was found in the nAWcTSD display area, where a pilot in a jet FTD wore a skull cap of white electroencephalogram (eeg) sensors. These sensors were monitoring the pilot’s brainwave activity as he performed various flight maneuvers in a mission rehearsal scenario, and sending neurological data to recorders at the instructor’s station. not so visible to conference attendees were other sensors, which also sent electrocardiogram (ecg), heart rate, 34


galvanic skin response, eye-tracking and thermal camera data, along with measurements of oxygen levels in the pilot’s hemoglobin, to the recorders. It was conference attendees’ first look at a Phase I prototype called the Quality of Training effectiveness Assessment (QTeA) system, funded through the office of naval Research’s Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program and managed by nAWcTSD. The QTeA system is one of the division’s latest research efforts to improve and enhance training through the measurement and analysis of human performance. The STTR was awarded to Advanced Infoneering, Inc, a small business in Iowa city, Iowa in partnership with the operator Performance laboratory (oPl) at the University of Iowa. The oPl has conducted extensive human performance research on pilot state characterization for the Integrated Intelligent Flight Deck (IIFD) program at nASA langley, avionics manufacturers and other governmental agencies. Two of the three QTeA primary tech-

Above I/ITSec 2008 attendees view QTeA physiological data monitoring displays. Image credit: nAWcTSD.

nology components are the Alion-BMh Advanced Tactical Aircraft Simulator (ATAS) and common Distributed Mission Training Station (cDMTS). The third is the cognitive Avionics Tool Set (cATS), which was developed by the oPl. The first phase of the QTeA project has been completed, with contract negotiations for the second phase being finalized at the time of this writing The QTeA system measures a pilot’s technical and physiological performance during high-task demand situations experienced in a flight simulator mission scenario or on an actual aircraft mission. In addition to the physiological measurements recorded in the flight simulator, at later phases of the QTeA project the same measuring equipment will be employed to record pilot performance in

MS&T Magazine - Issue 2/2009  
MS&T Magazine - Issue 2/2009  

Military Simulation & Training Magazine - The International Defence Training Journal.