Although most industries today recognize the training benefits of simulation, it can sometimes be hard to articulate why motion is essential. We reached out to our customers and conduced our own research to explain these points.

1 – Psychomotor Reflex Development

Benjamin Bloom’s 1972 “Learning Domains Taxonomy” has applications for motion based training and simulation learning equipments. The following elements contribute to the psycho-motor reflex development and stem from a simulator’s motion cue.

    • Perception – Using sensory cues to guide motor activities.
    • Response – Learning a complex skill through imitation trial and error; following instructions.
    • Mechanism – Learned responses become a habit, movements are performed with confidence and proficiency.
    • Complex Overt Response – performing complex movement patterns.
    • Adaptation – Movements can be modified or adapted to fit special situations.

2 – Multimodal Training

Education and training theorists all agree that education needs to proceed from a complete set of modalities in order to ensure an effective transfer of the training curriculum from trainer to trainee.
In an efficient training simulator, the core simulation solution is built out and communicated to the trainee in four modes:

  • Visualization : The trainee is able to observe the action happening within the simulation and can orient himself/herself accordingly.
  • Sound : Stereo or surround audio cues provide a tangible context that immerses trainees and more effectively familiarizes them with equipment- and environment-specific sounds.
  • Instructions : Clarity, subject-matter expertise, and highly detailed training objectives are essential for effective knowledge transfer. While technology is an essential medium for this knowledge transfer, it is also key to focus on curriculum definition and the clarity of the instructions given to the trainees.
  • Motion : Operators need to « feel » to memorize. Studies show that multimodal training improves results across a variety of subject areas. Instruction that is founded on auditory and visual learning as well as the kinesthetic domain is the best way to achieve learning success.

bandeThe only way to provide an efficient mixed modality training is to associate these 4 elements

3 – Simulator Verification and Validation

Per the definition used by the US Modeling and Simulation Coordination Office (M&SCO), verification and validation is essential in the simulator development and deployment process in order to avoid negative training.
As stated in the VV&A (verification, validation and accreditation) manual, to determine whether a model or simulation or federation should be used in a given situation, its credibility must be established by evaluating its fitness for the intended use.

Credibility is established by evaluating the simulation’s capabilities, accuracy, correctness, and usability relative to its intended use.
Credibility depends on the following simulation characteristics:

  • Capability – Not in an absolute sense, but relative to the capabilities needed for the specified application.
  • Accuracy – Not in an absolute sense, but relative to the accuracy necessary for the intended use
  • Correctness – The level of confidence that the simulation’s data and algorithms are sound, robust, and properly implemented, and that the accuracy of the simulation results will not substantially and unexpectedly deviate from the expected degree of accuracy.
  • Usability – Factors related to the use of the simulation, such as the training and experience of those who operate it, the quality and appropriateness of the data used in its application, and the configuration control procedures applied to it.

(source : Modeling and Simulation Coordination Office (M&SCO))

Many elements of credibility can be gauged simply by observing the visualization output of a simulator, but it is only by seating in the trainee seat that a simulation expert will be able to assess the correctness and accuracy of the virtual equipment.

4 – Maximal Trainee Engagement

The best training solution is the one that maximizes trainee engagement. Most operators are multimodal trainees—they learn better when they see, hear, and feel during their training. In addition, they are more deeply engaged when they « feel » the « real thing. » Static desktop training applications are at one remove from dynamic solutions that appeal to these learning traits.

In Technical Report 1176 by Michael E. McCauley in 2006 for the Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences, a number of striking conclusions shed new light on what constitutes optimal motion for pilot training :

  • “Contrary to the opinion of many simulator engineers and operational personnel (…) there is no certainty that the price of a simulator is related to the training benefits received.”
  • “Adding a limited amount of motion is highly likely to make a simulator more preferable to pilots.”

The report recommend to implement limited motion in order to gain the following benefits:

  • Provide event cues (e.g., landing bump, effective translational lift).
  • Avoid the fixed-base doldrums.
  • Increase pilot acceptance of the simulator.

(source : Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences)

« Training and Simulation is the hi-tech branch of education. » -D-BOX
The same concepts and theories underlie the evolutions of education and Training and Simulation. Here’s a quick overview of what we see as the game-changers in the odyssey of motion solutions.

Pioneers Empirical Approach

The moment mankind began to create machines to complement their natural movements and skills, the need arose to train their operators. It was essential to ensure they knew how to handle them in order to “get the job done.” To train and familiarize them with what they should expect to « feel » in interactions with these new vehicles or equipments was critical to these empirical pioneers of simulation.

sim2
« All motions were produced by electric motors controllable by the simulated sticks and rudder bars of the student and examiner. This device was stated to be useful for « developing and training the functions of the semi-circular canals and incidentally to provide such a machine for training aviators to accustom themselves to any possible position in which they may be moved by the action of an aeroplane while in flight », it must have been good fun too :-). A further optimistic claim was that the aviator could be blindfolded « so that the sense of direction may be sensitized without the assistance of the visual senses. In this way the aviator when in fog or intense darkness may be instinctively conscious of his position ». – Description of the 1909 Antoinette by The National Center for Simulation « The next step in the evolution of the flight trainer was the replacement of the human operator in Antoinette type machines with mechanical or electrical actuators linked to the trainer controls. The aim of these now automatic devices was to rotate the trainee pilot’s fuselage into an attitude corresponding to that of the real aircraft in response to his control inputs. The trainer was developed in the period 1927-1929 in the basement of the Link factory and made use of pneumatic mechanisms from the piano and organ business. The first trainer, touted as « an efficient aeronautical training aid – a novel, profitable amusement device » was described in a patent of 1930. »- Description of the Link Simulator by The National Center for Simulation

The era of the theorists

Modern times: Definitive conclusions about educational needs.

BenjaminBloom

1972 – Benjamin Bloom

Bloom creates the “Learning Domains Taxonomy”—and in his classification presents the “psychomotor domain,” which includes: • Perception – using sensory cues to guide motor activities. • Guided Response – learning a complex skill through imitation and trial and error; following instructions. • Mechanism – learned responses become habitual, movements performed with confidence and proficiency. • Complex overt response – performance of complex movement patterns. • Adaptation – movements can be modified or adapted to fit special situations.

Chikering

1987 – Chickering and Gamson

Their “Seven Principles for Good Practice” launch the Active Learning Concepts: “Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just by sitting in class listening to teachers, memorizing prepackaged assignments, and spitting out answers. They must talk about what they are learning, write about it, relate it to past experiences, apply it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of themselves. » Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson, « Seven Principles for Good Practice, » AAHE Bulletin 39: 3-7, March 1987

Fleming

1992 – Fleming, N., and Mills, C.

After providing evidence of VARK (visual, audio, reading, kinesthetic) training needs, Fleming and Mills introduce multimodal training and publish “Not Another Inventory, Rather a Catalyst for Reflection.” Neil Fleming and his team advocate for the need for multimodal training and the importance of kinesthetic cues as part of the VARK approach.

Converging on Expertise

After years of experimentation, improvement, and a complex path focused on the essential qualities of a simulator, best practices related to motion are established. Various sources are converging to define the optimal movement amount a simulator trainee should receive. Here a couple of points taken from the Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences.

report

2006 – Michael E. McCauley

“Contrary to the opinion of many simulator engineers and operational personnel (…) there is no certainty that the price of a simulator is related to the training benefits received.”
“Adding a limited amount of motion is highly likely to make a simulator more preferable to pilots »
Consider implementing limited motion and vibration to gain the following benefits: Provide event cues (e.g., landing bump, effective translational lift). Avoid the fixed-base doldrums. Increase pilot acceptance of the simulator.