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The Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative

Jerome S. Bresee iFest Presentation

Benefits of using machine-generated human factors performance data for training and assessment

Jerome S. Bresee

The era of Big Data has given new hope to many that the long-envisioned goal of a curriculum of learning events customized for each individual may finally be within reach.   It's long been argued that if enough information on a learner's entry level, rate of progress and specific skill attainment were available, a system could be devised that would provide the optimum next step in an individual's chain of learning events.

Work toward this goal has proceeded incrementally, initially matching specific remediation with performance test results within an automated environment.  Recent work pioneered by Sidney D'Mello at Notre Dame is exploring the use of facial recognition software to assess the emotional state of learners with a view to guiding their future learning activity.  Work at Trinity College in Dublin has used speech prosody to assess the quality of team communication.

Objections to detailed individual performance assessment have been raised over concerns for individual privacy.  For example, within commercial aviation any long-term retention of individual performance data beyond the end of a course has encountered objections from organized labor.   Wherever individual certifications are part of the landscape, there have been similar objections. The presenters advocate for the increased use of performance data that cannot be directly tied to individuals.

Abstracted performance information such as measures of speech prosody can provide feedback on individual performance without violating confidentiality.  This approach can be applied to data of all types, including video and physiological data.


Mr. Bresee is a training industry professional with 40-year career in systems design and development with a focus on aviation and similar high-risk/high- cost tasks and professions. Mr. Bresee supported flight training programs for nine US military platforms from the F-4 to the F- 35, led FAA Advanced Qualification Program (AQP) training system design for five certificated US airlines, and contributed to the Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) progam that enabled US air carriers to make daily use of digital flight data from aircraft flight data recorders. Mr. Bresee is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.


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