Advanced Authoring Tool Will Enable Instructors to Create Highly Effective Learning Experiences Using 3D Game Technology
SAN MATEO, CA, July 30, 2009 — Stottler Henke Associates, Inc. today announced the award of a two-year $730,000 contract with the U.S. Army to develop RADX, a software tool for authoring virtual training demonstrations. The system will enable instructors to rapidly create demonstrations that use 3D computer graphics to illustrate teaching points. RADX will also encode and apply design guidelines, grounded in the learning sciences, to help ensure that the demonstrations provide effective training.
Demonstrations show how tasks should be performed and the consequences of performing them incorrectly. They can be used within classroom training, embedded training, and distributed learning to accelerate learning of operational skills and tactics. Implemented using computer game technology, virtual demonstrations are a cost-effective alternative to training simulations that can require expensive hardware or software development. These demonstrations can be authored once and distributed widely to share new tactics, best practices, and lessons learned.
It is difficult to create effective virtual training demonstrations using existing methods and tools. Authors must be technically proficient in using video editing tools, and they must ensure that the demonstrations are instructionally effective. RADX will simplify the development of demonstrations at two levels. First, it will make it easier to create, edit, and annotate demonstrations without requiring extensive video editing expertise. When integrated with a game engine or virtual environment, RADX will provide advanced, higher-level authoring capabilities that are tailored to the training area and virtual environment. For example, RADX will help authors with the mechanical and instructional design aspects of controlling the virtual environment by automatically selecting or suggesting appropriate perspectives that illustrate the important behaviors or events in each scene.
In addition, RADX will help instructors apply instructional design guidelines to insure that the demonstrations provide effective learning experiences. For example, the authoring tool will use design guidelines to ensure that it is clear what is happening in the demonstration, which actions are correct and incorrect, which avatars correspond to which roles, and where and when the key decisions and actions occur. Because the use of 3D graphics for creating training demonstrations is new, comprehensive guidelines do not yet exist. During this project, Stottler Henke researchers will identify practical guidelines that describe how demonstrations can engage the audience and promote active learning, where they fit within a plan of instruction, and which kinds of annotations, cues and perspectives accelerate learning. These will serve as both a general reference and a framework that guides the development of effective demonstrations. The first applications of this authoring technology will support the Army’s training needs. For example, RADX can augment armor training curricula with virtual demonstrations that show effective and ineffective armor tactics to trainees who will then apply them. RADX technology can be adapted to create virtual training demonstrations to teach any procedure or skill that can be depicted in a game-based virtual environment such as military operations in urban areas, law enforcement, and emergency response.
Founded in 1988, Stottler Henke Associates, Inc. applies artificial intelligence and other advanced software technologies to solve problems that defy solution using traditional approaches. The company delivers intelligent software solutions for education and training, planning and scheduling, knowledge management and discovery, decision support, and software development. Stottler Henke’s clients include manufacturers, retailers, educational media companies and government agencies. In 2006, Stottler Henke was the subject of a NASA “Hallmarks of Success” video profile for its work developing and later commercializing advanced planning and training software systems. Stottler Henke received a 2004 “Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning” award for innovative technology. For the past four consecutive years, Stottler Henke was named one of the “top 100” companies making a significant impact on the military training industry by Military Training Technology magazine, and in 2005 received a Blue Ribbon recognizing it as a company that leads the industry in innovation.
July 30, 2009