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SpringSim, Military Modeling & Simulation, San Diego, CA, March 2009 (tutorial also presented at I/ITSEC 2008). Virtual Training Simulations & Game-Based Systems: Large-Scale Adoption Issues. Amela Sadagic, PhD asadagic@nps.edu. Motivation. Late 80s, early & mid 90s. Motivation.

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Virtual Training Simulations & Game-Based Systems: Large-Scale Adoption Issues

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SpringSim, Military Modeling & Simulation, San Diego, CA, March 2009

(tutorial also presented at I/ITSEC 2008)

Virtual Training Simulations & Game-Based Systems: Large-Scale Adoption Issues

Amela Sadagic, PhD

asadagic@nps.edu


Motivation

Late 80s, early & mid 90s


Motivation


Motivation


Agenda

  • Domain: What is Covered in This Tutorial

  • Current Training Needs

  • Simulations and Game-Based Systems

  • Diffusion of Innovation

  • Examples of (Partial) Success

  • Practical Considerations and Techniques

  • Increasing Adoption Rate

  • Conclusion and Q&A


  • Domain: What is Covered in This Tutorial

  • Current Training Needs

  • Simulations and Game-Based Systems

  • Diffusion of Innovation

  • Examples of (Partial) Success

  • Practical Considerations and Techniques

  • Increasing Adoption Rate

  • Conclusion and Q&A


Tutorial is Not About…

  • Connectivity to the network & server needs

  • Costs & financial aspects

  • Acquisition & procurement

  • Maintenance & administrative management


Tutorial is About…

  • The phase AFTER the training system is acquired.

  • User aspects: dissemination, adoption, deployment and use of those systems among intended users (both instructors and trainees).

  • Factors influencing large scale adoption.

  • Techniques for changing adoption rate.

  • Effective techniques for maximizing the investments made in those systems.


  • Domain: What is Covered in This Tutorial

  • Current Training Needs

  • Simulations and Game-Based Systems

  • Diffusion of Innovation

  • Examples of (Partial) Success

  • Practical Considerations and Techniques

  • Increasing Adoption Rate

  • Conclusion and Q&A


Current Training Needs

Situation that military community deals with:

  • changes of doctrinal teachings & mission objectives,

  • operational tempo changes dramatically,

  • unsatisfactory retention rate for the serviceman,

  • … and no performance drop-off!

    Training needs:

  • train large number of skills,

  • train large number of people,

  • train in novel ways, motivate learners,

  • train in novel places & under novel conditions,

  • acquire new skills,

  • learn & do novel tasks,

  • … and achieve all that in a short period of time!


  • Domain: What is Covered in This Tutorial

  • Current Training Needs

  • Simulations and Game-Based Systems

  • Diffusion of Innovation

  • Examples of (Partial) Success

  • Practical Considerations and Techniques

  • Increasing Adoption Rate

  • Conclusion and Q&A


Simulations and Game-Based Systems

Can they be a solution?

  • They will not provide a complete (only) solution,

  • … but most likely they will be a good part of that solution.

    A paradigm shift - truly and successfully enabling novel training practices, and achieving significant results, happens only when:

  • large majority (ideally everyone) uses those solutions,

  • they do it methodically and consistently,

  • they have those solutions available 24 / 7.


Definition of Problem

Affordable solutions, substantial and continuing investments, fairly well recognized and acknowledged potential…

… yet still no evidence of large scale adoption of technology-based solutions and their effective and systematic use for learning and training purposes.

Large scale: > 80 % users


Simulations and Game-Based Systems …cont.

Game-based systems: computer-supported real-time systems that couple multiple sensory information (visual, auditory, haptic, olfactory) in an organized way providing a meaningful context for human action and collaboration. This includes the elements of:

  • content: representation of the environment, actors and characters (one or many),

  • storyline / plot / scenario,

  • dynamics: set of rules, behaviors and interaction modalities,

  • task(s) and overall goal of action,

  • system feedback about player’s success/results in session (score).

    Goal: learning and training.


Examples of Games and Game-Based Systems

Games -> Entertainment:

  • EverQuest

  • World of Warcraft

  • Tiger Woods 99 PGA Tour Golf

    Game-Based Systems / Serious Games -> Learning and Training:

  • CCM (Close Combat Marine)

  • VBS 2 (Virtual Battle Space)

  • FOPCSim, VCCT

    Which group is concerned with the validity, correct simulation of physical phenomena and human behaviors, metrics and measurements?


Game-Based Training Systems: Examples


Simulations and Game-Based Training Systems

Why should we use them? They are:

  • mature enough,

  • affordable,

  • they have a potential to:

  • Enable more effective learning/training:

    • learn more, quicker, retain skills and knowledge longer, less cost involved,

  • Increase interest and motivate learners/trainees,

  • Enable learning/training situations that would not be possible otherwise,

  • But also…


  • …Correspond to Contemporary Lives of Its Users

    • 4 years ago: > 60% Marines played video games. They also used other digital gadgets & applications.

    • Now: All young IOC and TBS officers, as well as young Marines (almost everyone) own personal computer.

      Questions:

    • Should learners’ working hours (school, unit) be as contemporary as their free-time?

    • Is the alienation from a ‘clunky’ & ‘old’ segment of learner’s life possible to happen, and how can one address it?


    vs.

    Classroom-of-the-Future

    (as seen by the high-school students 9 years ago in 2000!)

    Expectations set by new generations:


    More on ‘Why Use Game-Based Training Systems…’

    • Provide rich visual and spatial representations

    • Simulate rich environment with multiple sensory information coupled together in an organized way - video, audio and other stimuli in a sync

    • Provide immediate feedback to learner’s actions

    • Include elements of storytelling and narration

    • Enable role-playing and experimentation

    • Engage user in active learning process

    • Can be fun and motivate users for learning (training)

    • Adaptable for different skill levels and learning styles

    • Enable high level of presence (this may influence performance)

    • Immerse users in problem-solving activities

    • Enhance experiential learning

    • Easy to play out a number of different situations (scenarios) - perfecting skills

    • Exploring a number of what-ifs

    • Self-selection of the level of difficulty – ownership over the learning process


    Caveats

    • Simulations (technology) are only the tools - not a goal and not a ‘full’ package, just a segment of it.

    • Simulations are not the ultimate replacement for current training approaches.

    • Simulation should be employed when it is a better solution for a given objective - need to match training approaches and tools with training objectives.

    • Efforts should be directed towards coupling of learning/ training objectives and goals with right approaches, right tools, having in mind the audience we deal with.


    • Domain: What is Covered in This Tutorial

    • Current Training Needs

    • Simulations and Game-Based Systems

    • Diffusion of Innovation

    • Examples of (Partial) Success

    • Practical Considerations and Techniques

    • Increasing Adoption Rate

    • Conclusion and Q&A


    Diffusion of Innovation

    • It is a technical issue AND social process.

    • Innovations DO NOT sell themselves.

      5 categories of adopters:

      • Innovators

      • Early adopters

      • Early majority

      • Late majority

      • Laggards

        Opinion leaders - change agents - change agent aide

    Everett M. Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations


    Diffusion of Innovation …cont.

    time

    Cummulative diffusion

    Everett M. Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations


    Diffusion of Innovation …cont.

    • Mass-media channels vs interpersonal channels.

    • Majority: form their opinion on the basis of subjectiveevaluation of information received from their peers (similar socioeconomic status, education and other values).

    • Interpersonal channels: most effective for ‘majority’ adopters.

    • Fastest adoption: decision coming from the authority.

    • An innovation should not be considered in isolation from other innovations.

    Everett M. Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations


    Factors Influencing Adoption Rate

    • Relative advantage: benefits over current solution.

    • Compatibility: degree of being consistent with current system of values.

    • Complexity: simpler to understand & simpler to use.

    • Trialability: adoption in an incremental fashion.

    • Observability: results being visible to other adopters.

    Everett M. Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations


    Relative Advantage: Issues

    (definition: perceived benefits over current solution):

    • Absence of ‘full package’ solutions

    • Black-box solution… just a wishful thinking

    • Lack of formal training for people who deliver instruction

    • One time exposure only + short exposure

    • Timing not appropriate

    • Wrong order of skill mastery

    • Disconnect between the systems and (right) users

    • No syllabus, no high-quality scenarios

    • Not matching system capabilities and levels with users

    • Training or ‘fun’?

    • Missing training relevance (need for continuous updates)

    • Lack of evaluation of training effectiveness

    • Lack of accountability for achieved training results

    • Motivation: “Checking the ‘technology’ box”


    Compatibility: Issues

    (definition: degree of being consistent with current system of values)

    • Lack of system support for After Action Review (AAR)

      Record your session, appoint the ‘observers” & ‘evaluators’

    • Do I need to forget everything I knew and did so far?

      Explore a synergy of old (known, tested) technologies/ methods and simulations - that mix may well be the best solution for given training objective!


    Complexity: Issues

    (definition: simpler to understand & simpler to use  adopted more rapidly)

    • Do I need to be a technology expert?

      • One possible solution: trainees acting as (occasional) technical support.

  • User interfaces, user navigation and interaction modalities differ from one system to another:

    • Learning new system is more difficult - making those parameters uniform/same across different systems would help.


  • Trialability: Issues

    (definition: adoption in an incremental fashion  adopted more rapidly)

    • Rigid definition of what it means to ‘use the technology’: 100%, 50% or 3% of training time?

    • Should all trainees use computers… or not?

       Consider different combinations and arrangements with some people using the system and some not using it.


    Observability: Issues

    (definition: results being visible to other adopters -> adopted more rapidly)

    • Mandatory use of simulations (e.g. aviation; ship, submarine & tank navigation; missile engagements):

      Results were substantial, tangible, clearly visible, with high relative advantage and immediate

    • Optional use of simulations (e.g. tactical decision-making skills):

      Relative advantage visible only after a long term use

       Advertise the successes of peers in their community.


    Influencing Users’ Attitude

    • “This will help us reduce the number of instructors” - hope for BIG savings.

    • “This system is all you will ever need.”

    • “These systems will (should) sell themselves.”

    • “It will be a ‘pull’ process only, no need for ‘push’ strategies.”

    • “We will start preparing for deployment once the training system is acquired.”

    • Unrealistic expectations on learning results and timing

      • More complex & more expensive solution  higher the expectations.

      • Time to get acquainted with the system - it is a process.

    • Accountability for the skill transfer (field performance).


    • Domain: What is Covered in This Tutorial

    • Current Training Needs

    • Simulations and Game-Based Systems

    • Diffusion of Innovation

    • Examples of (Partial) Success

    • Practical Considerations and Techniques

    • Increasing Adoption Rate

    • Conclusion and Q&A


    Examples of (Partial) Success

    America’s Army

    • It is a game. Started as a recruitment tool, not as a training system.

    • Substantial promotional efforts invested, and they are still present.

    • Has active web support: support forums, organized events for peers (gamers) and chat networks.

    • Professional web-site with

      segments focused on

      engaging new players: expanding

      user base is their mission.

    • No user studies done

      (‘transfer of training’).

    (image taken from America’s Army web site)


    Examples of (Partial) Success

    FOPCSim (Forward Observer PC Simulation)

    • Training system designed by Marines (MOVES students).

    • Actively promoted by Marines - available in each Simulation center.

    • Agent of change was one of original designers. He is also artillery officer i.e. peer of targeted

      end users.

    • Includes good & tested scenarios.

    • Uses Delta3D game engine – no

      license fees involved.

    • User studies proved

      training effectiveness.


    Examples of (Partial) Success

    VBS 2 (Virtual Battlespace 2)

    • Training system.

    • Actively promoted by Marines - Available in each Simulation Center.

    • Continually perfected and fine-tuned to fit training needs.

    • Company offers courses for administrators and developers &

      support for users (ex-military

      contractor team  experienced

      as very close to peers/users)

    • Supports large spectrum of

      training situations.

    • Still need to perfect their

      simulations.

    (image taken from VBS 2 web site)


    • Domain: What is Covered in This Tutorial

    • Current Training Needs

    • Simulations and Game-Based Systems

    • Diffusion of Innovation

    • Examples of (Partial) Success

    • Practical Considerations and Techniques

    • Increasing Adoption Rate

    • Conclusion and Q&A


    Practical Considerations

    Q1: Do my trainees need any prep time before they

    engage in active learning/training?

    Q2: Do I need to bring any learning/training aids? Cards? Projector? Recording devices? And how about the use of headphones?

    Q3: What should I do when the trainees start gaming

    (playing around, using non-doctrinal tactics)?

    Q4: How should I arrange my computers (I need to

    organize a session for an entire group)?

    Q5: Should I think about introducing elements of a

    challenge or competition?


    Learners as Your Technical Support Members?

    Q: Is it realistic to expect that all instructors will have necessary technical expertise and experience?

    A: Trainees acting as (occasional) technical support:

    • active involvement vs. ‘being served’ approach,

    • great opportunity to learn more about technology - they may need those skills in very near future,

    • recognition of their skills,

    • instills a sense of ownership over the process,

    • higher appreciation for instructor’s efforts,

    • more forgiving when technical difficulties are experienced.


    Everyone Using the System… or Not?

    Q (Valid concern): Certain tasks represent considerable cognitive load for an individual - do I add to that by asking them to control an input device in addition to their already complex tasks?

    Q: Could the experience of watching someone use the system be another form of learning?

    A: Consider different combinations and arrangements with some people using the system and some not using it.

    The goal: ALL trainees should benefit from that arrangement and that session.


    Combinations With Other Instructional Approaches

    Q: How beneficial is it to use a combination of new and old tested instructional approaches?

    A: Potential benefits:

    • They work (quite often very successfully).

    • This combination may be the best fit for training (match with beginning, intermediate, advanced levels).

    • ‘Old’ approaches serving as ‘suspenders’ in case of hasty behaviors while training with simulations.

    • Instructors are familiar with them - may be more inclined to accept a combination then simulation-only approach.


    Combinations With Other Technologies and Media

    Q: How beneficial is it to use a combination of different technologies and media?

    Consider:

    Synchronous & asynchronous tools

    Before, during & after the session

    Optional (additional) media:

    Chat (audio and text)

    Blog as a project diary (text blog, video blog, podcasts)

    Social networking

    Videoconferencing


    • Domain: What is Covered in This Tutorial

    • Current Training Needs

    • Simulations and Game-Based Systems

    • Diffusion of Innovation

    • Examples of (Partial) Success

    • Practical Considerations and Techniques

    • Increasing Adoption Rate

    • Conclusion and Q&A


    Increasing Adoption Rate

    time

    Cummulative diffusion


    Increasing Adoption Rate

    Knowing the characteristics of military as a social system:

    • Introduction of mandatory deployment and use of simulations

      • If you do, make sure there is a strong and valid rationale for such decision. Also, make sure it is accepted on ALL levels.

    • Increase the number of agents of change:

      • Create new billets dedicated to dissemination and use of simulations + make simulation focus be the main focus

    • Make some training tools/systems ‘unit/Marine-centered’ instead of ‘simulation center-centered’

    • More active and changed role for simulation centers.

    • Introduce challenge programs and competitions.


    • Domain: What is Covered in This Tutorial

    • Current Training Needs

    • Simulations and Game-Based Systems

    • Diffusion of Innovation

    • Examples of (Partial) Success

    • Practical Considerations and Techniques

    • Increasing Adoption Rate

    • Conclusion and Q&A


    References

    • Malcolm Gladwell (2000), The Tipping Point, Little, Brown and Company, 2000.

    • Joseph M. Nolan and Jason M. Jones (2005), Games For Training: Leveraging Commercial Off The Shelf Multiplayer Gaming Software For Infantry Squad Collective Training, Master Thesis , NPS.

    • Baxter, Holly C., Ross, Karol G., Phillips, Jennifer, Shafer, Jennifer, Fowlkes, Jennifer. (2004). Leveraging Commercial Video Game Technology to Improve Military Decision Skills. Inter-service/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) 2004.

    • Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Game Based Training. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001.

    • Everett M. Rogers (1995), Diffusion of Innovations, The Free Press 1995.

    • Amela Sadagic (2007), The Deployment and Use of Virtual Training Simulations: What Does it Take to Serve the Needs of Majority Of Its Users?, New Learning Technologies Orlando 2007 SALT Conference, Orlando, FL, Jan 31 - Feb 2, 2007.


    References …cont.

    • Amela Sadagic, Rudy Darken (2006), Combined Arms Training: Methods and Measures for a Changing World, NATO workshop Virtual Media for Military Applications, US Military Academy, West Point, NY, 13-15 June 2006.

    • Robert Sibley and Amela Sadagic (2003), Emerging Technologies as Enablers of Advanced Teaching and Learning Practice, National Educational Computing Conference - NECC 2003, Seattle WA, July 2003.

    • Wayne Zachary, Robert R. Hoffman, Kelly Neville, Jennifer Fowlkes (2007), Human Total Cost of Ownership: The Penny Foolish Principle at Work, IEEE Intelligent Systems, March/April 2007.


    Q & A


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