is applied and whether it increases training effectiveness significantly, incrementally, or at all" (Drown and Mercer, 1995).

Trainees taking part in most simulator-based training courses can be divided loosely into two groups:

  • unlicensed cadets who work through a series of structured courses; and
  • fully qualified, licensed mariners who take stand-alone courses for updating, refreshing, and refining skills.

Although instruction design theories can be applied to both groups, the training programs and corresponding instructional processes will vary by trainee level.

An effective training program addresses the student's 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. Rather, a 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.

The instructional process is central to the overall focus of this report. Instructional design is a relatively new process. It has not advanced sufficiently to the point where this committee can provide a complete vision of how it should be implemented. The committee can, however, provide guidance.

Instructional design is an iterative process whereby training managers continually test innovations and improve training. It is an incremental approach that involves inserting new pieces developed by the instructional design process into existing training programs, assessing results, and then revising the program as necessary. This systematic application yields simulator-based training programs with clearly defined objectives, carefully designed training and evaluation scenarios, and qualified instructors. Figure 3-1 illustrates the iterative nature of this training process.

There are several stages to implementing the instructional design process (see Box 3-1). A vital first stage is determining training needs. This stage is important because current national and international licensing and certification requirements and guidelines focus primarily on knowledge rather than skills and abilities needed to effectively apply knowledge (Froese, 1988). Training needs can be developed by identifying gaps or missing elements between the trainee's required and actual knowledge, skills, and abilities.

The second stage is to determine specific training objectives (i.e., goals). Objectives identify each attitude, skills, and block of knowledge the trainee should have on successfully completing the course (Drown and Mercer, 1995). Once the course has started, these objectives should be clearly stated to orient the trainee. Development of training objectives should also include developing performance

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