Simulation can become an effective training tool to improve competence of Marines providing mechanism for determining if Marines are ready for action on a much more comprehensive basis than through its current examinations. Stronger station base must be developed to address issues of standardisation and validation.
Training programs using simulation often insert simulation into existing courses rather than customising the course to ensure that the simulation contributes effectively to the course training objectives. One result has been a lack of standardisation in simulator-based courses.
The major benefits of simulation will be realised with a more structured approach to the use of simulation for training. Benefits include ability to use simulators to train regardless of conditions, allowing instructors to terminate training scenarios at any time and training scenarios can be performed under risk-free conditions, repeated, recorded and played back.
The training simulation effort is technically limited to five aspects of warfighting: ship-to-shore manoeuvre itself, amphibious fire support/effects, clearing amphibious assault lanes, amphibious command & control, C4 communication & amphibious information warfare.
However, Marines trying not to bound the effort too rigidly because someone somewhere might submit a totally unexpected idea that changes the way we look at amphibious operations. We don’t want to limit training proposals in any way.
Interim Airlift concept proposes existing aircraft “snatch pickup” of "Logistics Glider" from Sea base helipad, flight deck, or nearby surface for aerial sustainment of tactic manoeuvre expedition force.
A next step towards achieving vision of connecting multiple simulators spread across the battlespace is the integrated training station to house, all under one roof, simulators for pretty much anything in the carrier strike group. We’ll be able to integrate them all together. Eventually we will be able to pipe in feeds from live aircraft out on our range – that’s the live part, and then vice versa hopefully we can pipe what’s being seen in the simulators, or what’s being constructed in the simulators, out to the live aircraft as well.
Professional development of Marines has in the past been based on a strong tradition of on-the-job learning. There is a wide range of Marine simulators in use worldwide. Capabilities simulators range from radar only to full-scale ship-bridge simulators capable of simulating a 360-degree view.
Marine simulators can simulate a range of vessels in scenarios of real generic operating conditions e.g., ports and harbors. Simulators can be used to train Marines in a number of skills, from rules of the road and emergency procedures to bridge team resource operations.
A simulator does not train; it is the way the simulator is used that yields the benefit. It is easy to be impressed by the latest, largest full-mission simulator, but what is more important than the technology is how training methods are applied and whether it increases training effectiveness significantly, incrementally, or at all.
Physical scale-model, or manned-model, simulators are scale models of specific vessels that effectively simulate ship motion and handling in fast time. These models are especially effective for teaching shiphandling and manoeuvre skills.
New training structures assess training effectiveness from specific simulator features. While some work has supported the notion that higher levels of fidelity add to training effectiveness, others do not. For example, there is no evidence that in air carrier community that motion systems add to the training effectiveness of a simulator. Despite the widespread acceptance of motion systems, evidence is inconsistent.
We decided to work out simulation problems after units depart on deployment. There would be no impact on the response plan, which by then would have run its course. No one could object to the complexity of the task as the players involved would be trained and certified units. The fleet could focus them on whatever warfighting tasks seemed most critical, separate from a set training regimen.
It is difficult to determine the validity and degree of equivalency between simulator training and shipboard experience without an evaluation of transfer. The issue is if it can be determined that skills learned in a simulator can be employed aboard ship.
The most systematic way to test the application of this training to shipboard performance would be to systematically compare shipboard performance of simulator-trained individuals as group to performance of a group whose only difference is the lack of simulator training. Logistically, these studies are difficult to execute within the air carrier sector and may be even more difficult to execute in sectors lacking systematic organisational structure.
Marines duties and responsibilities are dictated by their work space, operating in the sometimes highly stressful and demanding work space of automated ships, short turnaround times in port, smaller crew sizes, and self-contained independence of long sea voyages. Deck officers must be knowledgeable in skills ranging from watchkeeping, navigation, cargo handling, and radar.
Marine pilots are highly skilled, functioning independently in scenarios requiring understanding the operation of ship-bridge equipment and manoeuvre capabilities of a wide range of vessels and to be able to safely manoeuvre through shallow and restricted waters. Pilots must also be knowledgeable in local working practices of ports and terminal operations.
In Applying simulation to training requirements, it is important to consider differences among simulators, that is, the different levels of simulator component capabilities. A high degree of realism is not always required for effective learning transfer. Often it is not necessary to use the most sophisticated simulator to meet all training objectives.
Levels of realism and accuracy required should match the training objectives. Simulators are used for Marine performance evaluation. These evaluations are usually informal and take the form of debriefings during the course of training. Occasionally, however, simulators are used for more structured evaluations.
Systematic application of the instructional design process offers a strong model for the structuring of new courses and the continuous improvement of existing courses. Instructors must ensure that all training objectives are met and themselves be trained to ensure that the simulator-based training courses meet the training objectives.
An effective training programme addresses Marines training needs with respect to knowledge, skills, and abilities. It exploits all media, from personal computer-based training to limited-task and full-mission simulators and applies the appropriate training tool to the specific level of training. For example, it would not be necessary to use a full-mission simulator for early instruction in rules-of-the-road training.
Systematic approach to training promotes convergence toward full-mission expertise by developing basic modules of skills in several steps. This approach encourages the assembly of ever-larger skills modules until the trainee can exploit training on a full-mission simulator.
Differences in instructional techniques can result in a significant range of material that can be covered. The way material is covered also affects the relative value of the learning experience. These factors may be affected by simulator features and fidelity; however, limitations in these areas can be minimised or offset to a large extent for certain instructional objectives. For example, we found bridge team training could utilise creative instructional design can be used to compensate for limitations in simulator capabilities.
Before we had the simulator, Marines were really slow in the first few days on the range because that’s the first time that they did it. But now getting some practice time in, you get better control and better performance on the range with the live assets, so it makes it more efficient. So the simulator is really useful, it’s invaluable as far as getting Marines ready to go.
Ship-bridge simulators and manned models can be effective in the development and renewal of Marine pilot skills in a number of significant areas including bridge team resource administration,, shiphandling, docking and undocking scenarios, bridge watch keeping, rules of the road, and emergency procedures.
Although current computer-based simulators are limited in their ability to simulate ship manoeuvre trajectories in shallow and restricted waterways and ship-to-ship interactions—capabilities important to pilot shiphandling training-- simulator training in areas such as bridge team/resource management can be of value to pilots.
Special-task simulators could be used effectively in Marine training. A limitation affecting widespread use is little availability of desktop simulations and interactive courseware. Marines must selectively sponsor development of interactive courseware with embedded simulations to facilitate understanding of information and concepts that are difficult or costly to convey by conventional means.
Use of simulations offers an effective mechanism for accessing not only Marines knowledge but ability to apply that knowledge, to prioritise tasks, and to perform several tasks simultaneously, all functions routinely required aboard ship. Must develop a framework for integrating simulation into training program before it undertakes more extensive use of simulation in training.
Must update and expand relevant task and subtask assessments for application to the Marines training needs. For the instructional design process to be effective, the course design should include the definition of training needs based on the steps required to complete identified tasks and subtasks for specific functions. Assessment must include dimensions that have been missing with respect to behavioural elements and specific steps needed to execute each subtask.
Standards for simulator-based training courses should be considered in the development of a plan for allowing substitution of simulator-based training for required sea time in the limited cases. The ratio of simulator time to sea time should be determined on a course-by-course basis and should depend on the quality of the learning experience, including the degree to which the learning transfers to actual operations.
The accuracy and fidelity of ship-bridge simulators can vary significantly from training station to station. These differences derive from the differences among original models used to develop the simulations and from station operator modifications to models after installation of the simulations.
Often, training station operators periodically modify simulation models after the initial validation. This process of continually modifying simulation models can result in inconsistent training programmes, as successive training sessions may be conducted with different simulations.
To address these concerns, simulators and simulations must be validated, all modifications must be documented and the simulation revalidated. The extent to which accuracy of a simulation needs to be validated will depend on the proposed use of the simulation.
Equivalency of simulation to real life has not been systematically investigated because existing task assessments are not adequate for this purpose and systematic application of task assessments based on performance have not been developed for this purpose.
The work of Marines is task-oriented. To be able to effectively apply simulator technology, it is important to systematically measure simulator effectiveness for training and to develop a mechanism to use simulators to improve the effectiveness of the transfer of skills and knowledge.
Ship control and navigation are visually supported tasks, especially in confined areas. Learning visual skills is an important process in the development of proficiency in control and navigation. In many simulators, the visual simulations are provided with systems that have limited capabilities to represent some stimuli. The result can be distortion of distance perceptions as an observer moves around the simulated bridge.
It is possible to stimulate lessons by participating in a simulation involving a crew change, a watch relief, two ports unfamiliar to the new watch officers, and a transit speed that was excessive for the situation but not readily apparent. As the scenario unfolded, bridge team members created enough pressures and problems for themselves without any instruction. The need for more effective passage planning and improved communications among bridge team members was no less apparent than it might have been in a situation artificially influenced by role reversals or problems inserted by the instructor.
The impact on training effectiveness of ship operational characteristics—such as vibration, sound, and physical movement of the bridge in roll, heave, and pitch—has not been verified and should be investigated before applying these systems to simulators.
Marines must assess the impact on training effectiveness of apparent limitations in simulator visual systems. If these limitations have a negative impact on training effectiveness, visual systems must be developed that overcome or minimise the negative aspects of current systems.
Comprehensive assessment addresses the large number of problems resulting from a lack of understanding within the Marines of the capabilities and limitations of an automated system. For example, when the radar signal-to-noise ratio is poor, the automatic radar plotting aids may "swap" the labels of adjacent targets.
If Marines are not aware of this limitation, Marines may be navigating under false assumptions about the position of neighboring vessels, increasing the chances of a casualty. Comprehensive assessment will identify misconceptions about automated systems that could then be remedied through training or equipment redesign.
Marines must undertake structured assessments of the need for simulation of vibration, sound, and physical movement. These assessments should include consideration of the possibly differential value of these various sources of information in different types of training scenarios.
Manned models are an effective training device for illustrating and emphasising the principles of shiphandling. They are particularly effective in providing hands-on ship manoeuvre in confined waters, including berthing, unberthing, and channel work. Manned models can simulate more realistic representations of bank effects, shallow water, and ship-to-ship interactions than electronic, computer-driven ship-bridge simulators.
The ability of a simulator to closely replicate manoeuvre trajectory of ship is a strong measure of the usefulness and value of the simulator for training. At present, simulation of ship manoeuvre trajectory is well developed in normal deep-water, open-ocean cases. In cases involving shallow or restricted waterways, ship-to-ship interactions, and extreme manoeuvre, fidelity may be significantly reduced.
Conduct of full-scale real-ship experiments would significantly advance the state of practice in model development. These experiments could supplement the limited information available for shallow and restricted water, slow speed, and reverse propeller operational information.
Marines must develop standards for the simulation of ship manoeuvre. Fidelity of the models must be validated through a structured, objective process. Standard models must be selected and tested in towing tanks and the results compared to selected full-scale real-ship trials of the same ships to provide benchmark metrics for validation and testing of simulators.
What we want to be able to do in the future, and this training station is the first step, is machine-to-machine metrics gathering. Allowing us to gather large amounts of metrics- so not just necessarily how they did on that event, in the actual actions they took on that event, but we can also gather historical metrics on the aircraft, its system, how well the systems have held up.
We can look at, automatically, machine-to-machine, look at the pilot and how proficient he is, how much flight time Marines received recently, and that will all help us build that bigger picture so we can inform leadership with the best simulation information we can give them.
1. Identify requirements for different trainee population backgrounds
2. Set training objectives/goals requirements
3. Determine course content/material requirements
4. Implement timetables for training evaluations
5. Correlate resource requirements with training objectives
6. Match specific instructional techniques to curriculum content
7. Identify trainee assessment requirements
8. Establish instructor experience, qualification, selection, training
9. Select type of training media
10. Estimate cost benefit/effectiveness of the training programme.
11. Select simulators designed to meet training needs not structuring training to fit simulator.
12. Measure training performance against predefined criteria.
13. Continue training until required proficiency level is reached.
14. Anticipate requirements for refresher training to maintain skill level
15. Evaluate structure of trainee performance prior to, at conclusion of, and after programme
16. Conditions and attitudes in the work space must be conducive to transfer of training.
17. Create standards/objectives for individual simulator exercises content
18. Provide content for simulation exercise instructions/debriefings
19. Design instructions based on special task compared to full-mission simulator
20. Account for ship type and model fidelity of manoeuvre
21. Assess type/structure/length of exercise scenario objectives
22. Establish level of fidelity/accuracy of visual scene
23. Account for accuracy of trajectory prediction and validation requirements
24. Account for high front-end cost of simulator-based training compared to cost of on-the-job learning
25. Provide training structure for trainees to substantiate their statements
26. Establish basis for instructor recruitment/selection
27. Value instructional capability to operate/integrate simulator resources
28. Develop inclusion of bridge/radar operations subject matter
29. Maintain up-to-date content of ship operational navigation/traffic technology
30. Communicate with industry address requirements and details of training courses
31. Prepare all necessary course material/equipment
32. Validate ship models, production manoeuvre scenario metrics
33. Prepare for coordination of course schedules and training strategy
34. Conduct/supervise debriefings
35. Develop ship-bridge simulator-based learning system
36. Build design workshop to implement simulation instruct strategy
37. Provide for simulation exercise design/grading
38. Establish command experience knowledge of simulator capabilities;
39. Demonstrate expert shiphandling skills
40. Value current general knowledge of industry/trainee sectors
41. Determine training requirements for assessment of job-tasks and subtasks;
42. Meet training objectives include performance measures
43. Establish training techniques include assess if simulation meets objectives
44. Determine duration of training programme and debriefing techniques
45. Validate integration of simulator/simulation with curriculum
46. Establish standards for design/validate exercise scenarios
47. Qualify training instructors based on guidelines/standards
48. Plan for establishing sequencing of simulator training
49. Account for effect of short/extended course duration on learning
50. Transfer training effectiveness by different population categories