Simulation training programs are becoming increasingly sophisticated and accurate. However, there are several factors that can hinder their reliability in preparing individuals for real-world performance. There are two principle challenges. Firstly, that training tends to be focused on isolated abilities, rather than combined abilities that are typically faced in real-world scenarios, and which greatly increase performance demands. Secondly, training simulations commonly engender a sense of a safe and controlled environment, which lacks the real-world psychological and cognitive pressures that can often overload an individual, causing errors or lapses in performance.
A scientific training technique known as NeuroTracker has been used in military and occupational training programs to counter these challenges. This task involves performing 3D multiple object tracking using adaptive algorithms which place an individual at their attentional threshold. This cognitive load is precise and known to be an excellent measure of attentional capacity. NeuroTracker is then used in dual-task methodology where it is integrated directly with simulation training tasks. Any significant drops in NeuroTracker performance while performing a training task effectively reveal weaknesses the individual’s ability to perform under pressure. This indicates that the individual is not ready to apply their trained skills when faced with added cognitive load, revealing a lack of robustness in their trained ability, and a risk of under-performing in real-world situations.
Individuals identified as at-risk can then be retrained until they reach an acceptable level of readiness. Ensuring readiness will greatly reduce costs associated with performance dilapidation in real-world situations.
Scott Kozak, MBA, is Managing Director of the CogniSens Applied Research Centre (ARC), a non-profit research center dedicated to developing and validating new applications to address unmet needs in human cognition, learning and performance. ARC researchers collaborate with experts and key opinion leaders from renowned academic, government and industry organizations to validate evidenced-based applications of NeuroTracker technologies.
Scott is also Deputy Chair of the NDIA’s Human Systems Division and an Adjunct Professor at Brown University in the Executive Master of Healthcare Leadership degree program. He has held senior management positions in multinational corporations, start-ups and public-sector organizations.