Enhancing rifle marksmanship training using automated data capture and feedback with xAPI
Historically, military training ranges monitor a trainee’s success rate at hitting targets, but that performance data never makes it off the range. In addition, the capability to obtain individualized training data and analyze group performance to improve marksmanship ability with real time feedback was not available.
A performance evaluation and reporting system designed to mine data at live training shooting ranges and provide detailed feedback and reporting of range performance to key stakeholders including individual shooters, coaches, and researchers.
About the Project
This purpose of the Range Experience Acquisition Portal for Evaluating and Reporting (REAPER) project was to investigate new technologies that could be used with xAPI to track precision in firing range exercises, and marksman performance. By leveraging xAPI in marksmanship training, this project would demonstrate the reach of the xAPI Specification to collect learning data for group and individual activities based on new training situations.
From 2014-2019, REAPER provided detailed training record and data mining ability to the U.S. Army Live Training Range Oscar 9 located at Ft. Benning, GA. This project set out to create a proof-of principle using xAPI and a Learning Record Store (LRS) to collect performance data from a live instrumented training range, with delivery of the data to a cloud-based LRS. Cross-platform training effectiveness measures and metrics were developed for the marksmanship training domain using xAPI. The program then evaluated the effectiveness of encoding performance data through xAPI and shared the data back with trainers and soldiers to use during training.
In addition to capturing performance data during the live fire exercises, REAPER provided instructors and trainees with relevant, timely, and on-demand feedback related to individual and team shot performance based on data analysis outcomes. REAPER leveraged adaptive learning algorithms to help determine deficiencies when mining performance data. The shot data captured by the system was also used to provide personalized, remedial, and interactive multi-media content based on shot grouping patterns.
What made the REAPER software so useful was its ability to send performance data to both instructor and trainee to adapt and improve training exercises in real-time, in addition to its ability to provide results when the exercise was over. The shooter initiates the training supported by the REAPER system by entering a 4-digit code into the student station. During training, xAPI statements are used to transmit data to the Range Learner LRS. This LRS then transmits the shot data to a hosted LRS connected to a reporting database where the data is aggregated to the Corrective Interactive Multimedia Instruction (CIMI), a mobile app to provide the learner instant feedback on their shot performance.
Once the data is available at the central LRS, it could be exported to the Army Training Management System (ATMS) and accessed through a web portal which provides users with access to role-specific performance visualizations (individual, coach/commander, or researcher roles). These visualizations (or “dashboards”) are accessible by secure password via mobile web-enabled devices. REAPER is still available for use in marksmanship training exercises at Fort Benning.