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Staff Training in Information Management for Force XXI
Phone: (703) 524-4331
Recent cognitive research indicates that military teams operate effectively in high-stress, information-rich environments when they 1) share mental models of the battlefield situation and the team; 2) critique their situation model to develop clear goals for information retrieval; 3) effectively communicate information needs to others; and 4) anticipate and counteract information overload. We propose to develop a networked system that trains battalion staff in these skills. The research effort will unite two bodies of cognitive theory. One line of research is focused on team communication and coordination strategies. The other addresses the critical thinking skills that facilitate situation assessment and the identification of information needs. Training based on these approaches has reliability improved the performance of Army and Navy staff in complex information-handling tasks. A multi-media training system will be conceptualized and specified. It will combine the training approaches, above, and features a scenario-based simulator for exercises. The system will implement multi-level feedback customized to the individual and the team, and it will adapt the difficulty of information management exercises to the individual independent of the team. A pilot study is proposed to evaluate the interface, select behavioral measures, test training effects, and elicit user opinions of the system. The proposed system will train teams responsible for information management, situation assessment, and decision making in environments in which time is scarce, the tempo of activity is rapid, and the volume of information is large. Such technology can benefit battalion-level Army staff, emergency response teams in telecommunications, medical disaster response teams, and business negotiators. The proposed system has a potentially broad impact and a profitable market.
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