Development of Blended Learning Solution for Soldiers

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23/09/19 Information Technology Reference this

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On-line and Blended Learning.

 

Proposal for a blended learning solution.

 

Contents

1 | Situation          4-6

Introduction          4

1.1 Context          4

1.2 Need          4

1.3 Problem statement        5

2 | Options                 7-8

2.1 Option 1 – MEGGITT FATS 300MIL immersive virtual training system  7

2.2 Option 2 – Raytheon VIRTSIM       8

3 | Solution          9-10 

3.1 Description         9

3.2 Advantages         9

3.3 Justification         9-10

4 | Cost/Benefit          10

4.1 Cost          10

4.2 Benefit          10

5 | Implementation timeline        11

6 | Critical assumptions         11-12

6.1 Product need         11

6.2 Customer base         11

6.3 ROI          11-12

7 | Conclusion and Recommendation       12

7.1 Conclusion         12

7.2 Recommendation        12

Appendix 1 | Cost benefit analysis       13 

Appendix 2 | Bibliography        14

Figures

Figure 1 Dismounted Close Combat Trainer (DCCT)     6

Figure 2 Dismounted Soldier Training System (DSTS)     6

Figure 3 MEGGITT FATS 300MIL immersive virtual training system   7

Figure 4 Raytheon VIRTSIM        8

Figure 5 Timeline milestones        11

Tables

Table 1 FATS advantages and disadvantages      7

Table 2 VIRTSIM advantages and disadvantages      8

1 | Situation

Introduction

This proposal looks at the aspect of a Virtual Simulation system that makes it possible to train Soldiers by considering the complexities faced, to allow the team to function within rules of engagement.  The upmost importance of a such an adaptive system is to save lives on operations and in combat roles.  British Soldiers and teams operating in the boundaries of rules of engagement need to understand a complex adaptive system.

Adaptive systems such as virtual simulation is relevant for high risk training for urgent matters such as sustainability, globalisation and combating terrorism (Miller and Page, 2007).

 

1.1 Context  

The aim of this proposal is to give an overview of how virtual simulation could be introduced for training and education within the British Army and could provide leaders assistance in the decision-making process.

The proposal supports the introduction and development of virtual simulation into the British Army, an area where emerging technologies are not routinely utilised or enhanced within defence training (Curry et al, 2015).

1.2 Need 

Computer simulation training is an important part of the exercise and training cycles of the British Army.  These simulations have limitations but provide alternative realities which mimic global operations, for areas of training.  Parameters of simulations and simulators can be established to train cultural and social differences for skill-based training for future operations (Sennersten, 2010).

 

1.3 Problem statement

The British Army fight alongside allies and others forces within NATO.  Currently the British Army utilise a Dismounted Close Combat Trainer (DCCT), see Figure 1, for indoor practice ranges.  The problem lies with the system as users only face one direction and fire the weapon system straight down the range.  There is no opportunity for soldiers to move in a 360-degree immersive environment as they would on operations therefore, not providing the correct training scenarios to ratio of real-life situations that would occur in the battlespace.  Also, there are limitations in the simulations that can be used.

Currently there are an abundance of simulation environments utilised and practiced with, in other militaries throughout the globe.  There is a definitive need for evaluations and developments within the simulation’s technology but also the learning outcomes; therefore, meaning developers need to assess suitable pedagogy approaches and learners’ requirements to meet individual’s needs (Sennerston, 2010), utilising a blend of digital and real-life scenarios in augmentation.

NATO countries are already using newer simulations (NATO, 2003), example DSTS (Dismounted Soldier Training System), see Figure 2.  Therefore, a training capability gap exists between coalition forces soldiers training on new systems and British soldiers on outdated versions.  This is due to lack of immersive simulations in the DCCT.  This outdated system does not provide realistic immersive training environments.  With new technology this could create complex situational awareness assessments, which could assist instigating improved decision-making skills (Jeanpierre, 2009).

Figure 1 Dismounted Close Combat Trainer (DCCT)

Source: 154 (Scottish) Regt (2017)

Figure 2 Dismounted Soldier Training System (DSTS)

Source: U.S. Army (2013)

2 | Options

2.1 Option 1 – MEGGITT FATS 300MIL immersive virtual training system

“Meggitt enhances the FATS® line of virtual systems with the introduction of fully immersive training. The FATS® 300MIL brings a 300° field of view to the user, providing realistic, engaging training. With high-definition on every screen and 5.1 surround sound, the users will feel like they’re in the action, facing decision making pressures while maintaining situational awareness.” MEGGITT (2018).

Table 1 FATS advantages and disadvantages

Components

Advantages

Disadvantages

Low light.

Surround Sound.

Hit detection system.

Projectors.

Surround sound.

Immersive solution.

Saves costs of ammunition.

Visual display.

Marksmanship, judgemental and collective training.

Hostile enemy fire system.

Requires electricity.

Only one user at a time.

Limited simulations.

Only 300 degree.

 

Source: Adapted from MEGGITT (2018)

 

 

Figure 3 MEGGITT FATS 300MIL immersive virtual training system

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: MEGGIT (2018)

2.2 Option 2 – Raytheon VIRTSIM

“Using VIRTSIM™ virtual immersion training soldiers are able to monitor their progress as the system provides real-time capture, review and analysis by trainer and soldier.  Wireless stereo head-mounted displays provided each trainee with an independent 360-degree view of any virtual environment, enhanced by muscle-stimulation technology, functional replica weapons and other elements to provide realistic training effects”. Raytheon (2012).

Table 2 VIRTSIM advantages and disadvantages

Components

Advantages

Disadvantages

Full body sensors.

Full eye sensors.

Different immersive simulations.

Allows 13 squad members at once.

Realtime consequences.

Whole body is immersed with sensors.

360 degree.

Need an area the size of a basketball court.

Requires electricity.

 

Source: Adapted from Raytheon (2012)

 

Figure 4 Raytheon VIRTSIM

 

 

 

 

Source: Raytheon 2012

3 | Solution

Virtual Simulation (VIRTSIM)

3.1 Description

The VIRTSIM system immerses up to 12 team members and 1 officer in visually precise, living combat scenarios fire team, and section level fire and manoeuvre. This total engagement training system delivers training in diverse increasingly multifaceted scenarios of the officers’ choice, in which the trainees’ activities or decisions allow real-time consequences, as they would in combat.  The trainee’s complete body is immersed in combat with sensors attached to elbows to emit low level shocks if injured.  Trainees are susceptible to 360-degree threats and even friendly fire soft bullets. Raytheon (2012).

3.2 Advantages

 

  1. Physical and cognitive pressure experienced concurrently.
  2. Head-mounted display 360-degree view of scenarios.
  3. High throughput allows approximately 1,000 soldiers to be trained in a 40-hour period.
  4. Can be networked together for different teams to train in the same virtual environment. Raytheon (2012).

3.3 Justification

VIRTSIM has numerous savings. This system saves on building new training facilities.  Significant savings in live ammunition can be achieved due to reduced time spent on live firing exercises.  Also, savings of ammunition is achieved due to VIRTSIM weapons being battery powered.

VIRTSIM simulates live combat firefights and explosions without causing harm and leaving footprint on the training environment.

VIRTSIM replicates cultural and behavioural considerations therefore meaning learners can experience emotional intelligence on a global platform.  Here developers need to incorporate cognitive mapping in the design and the purpose of the simulation.  The Graesser and King (2008) theory states: “The challenge of combining entertainment and pedagogical content is the foundation of simulations”.  Therefore, meaning learner modalities also need to be identified.

4 | Cost/Benefit

4.1 Cost

A cost benefit analysis can be found at Appendix 1.  It is assumed on the purchase of 25 units in year 1 (13 users and 12 spare).  Ongoing support and maintenance costs as 10% of 1 unit per annum.  Also, replacements at the 5- and 10-year lifespan.  To replace existing tech.

4.2 Benefit

1.       Cost reduction.  (i) Less ammunition (ROI on ammunition budget).

(ii) Faster training periods (ROI on L&D training budget).

  1. Risk mitigation.  Allows training to take place in a controlled environment, without         endangering personal wellbeing.
  2. Efficiency.  Dangerous simulations can be trained, which would normally not be able to be simulated in real time conditions.

5 | Implementation timeline

Milestone 1 Purchase

Milestone 2 Delivery

Milestone 3 User Demo

Milestone 4 Training

Milestone 5 User Assessment

Milestone 6 Evaluation

Figure 5 Timeline milestones

 

6 | Critical assumptions

6.1 Product need

Virtual Simulation has been utilised and harnessed by NATO militaries (Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Spain) for at least the last 15 years, NATO (2003).  Meaning the British Army is using outdated Simulation games which is creating a training gap between member military states. 

6.2 Customer base

The British Army currently has 77,440 trained personnel, UKDJ (2017).  Using VIRTSIM as a training tool of 40 hours per 1000 personnel, the British Army could be trained on this system within 3097 hours (129 days).  To train the whole strength would only take 4 months.

6.3 ROI

The MOD’s research and development budget for 15/16 was reported as £1.7bn, MOD (2017).  The cost of the VIRTSIM in year 1 is £67,220.59, which equates to only 0.00396% of the annual budget for research and development budget of the MOD, meaning that this product provides excellent ROI and does not require R&D.

7 | Conclusion and Recommendation

 

7.1 Conclusion

Simulation training is a fundamental aspect of British Army training, effective for mitigating risk in combat environments.  Simulations demonstrate an excellent impact on training, proven in current conflicts.  Therefore, it is not thinkable to imagine what future training would look like without simulations.  Training on older technology though, is creating a training gap between militaries and putting lives at risk in real time combat scenarios.

Virtual simulation demonstrates huge savings on training and ammunition and benefits the individual by putting them under real time cognitive and physical pressures.  It is also perfect for setting benchmarks and performance, which is an excellent metric.  This allows the trainee to receive immediate feedback on performance, which instructors can use as evaluation metrics.

7.2 Recommendation

1. It is recommended a Virtual Simulation learning system be introduced to replace the outdated and 2D DCCT systems currently in use.  This will help to create a new learning ecosystem to empower continuous learning and promote a continuous learning model Deloitte (2014).  Meaning the Army can engage its employees, react to change quickly on the battlefield and do this within budgets creating ROI.

2. After installing VIRTSIM, the recommendation is current, however emerging trends and the fast-paced introduction of AI, means the Army needs to look towards the future now.  Project holodeck by NVIDIA (Weinstein, 2017) has already created AI simulations that can connect outdoor simulations to 3D, 360-degree environments.

Appendix 1 | Cost benefit analysis

 

COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS

Key Values

Cost/Unit

$3412.92

Maintenance Cost (10%)

$341.29

Server cost

$600

Expenses

Yr 1

Yr 2

Yr 3

Yr 4

Yr 5

Yr 6

Yr 7

Yr 8

Yr 9

Yr 10

 

Unit

$85,323.00

WCTextBoxReplacement1_13210

.00

WCTextBoxReplacement1_13210

.00

WCTextBoxReplacement1_13210

.00

$85,323.00

WCTextBoxReplacement1_13210

.00

WCTextBoxReplacement1_13210

.00

WCTextBoxReplacement1_13210

.00

WCTextBoxReplacement1_13210

.00

$85,323.00

Maintenance

$341.29

$341.29

$341.29

$341.29

$341.29

$341.29

$341.29

$341.29

$341.29

$341.29

Server

$600

$600

$600

$600

$600

$600

$600

$600

$600

$600

Total

$86,264.29

$941.29

$941.29

$941.29

$86,264.29

$941.29

$941.29

$941.29

$941.29

$86,264.29

Appendix 2 | Bibliography

  • Curry, J., Price, T. and Sabin, P. (2015) Commercial-Off-the-Shelf-Technology in UK Military Training. Simulation & Gaming Journal, Sage Journals. 47 (1), pp. 7-30.
  • Deloitte (2014) Meet the Modern Learner [Online] San Francisco: Bersin by Deloitte. Available from: <https://legacy.bersin.com/uploadedfiles/112614-meet-the-modern-learner.pdf> [Accessed 28TH October 2018].
  • Graesser, A.C and King, B. (2008) Human Behaviour in Military Contexts. 1st Ed. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
  • Jeanpierre, J.G. (2009) Business case analysis of future immersive training environment (FITE) joint capability technology demonstration (JCTD) [Ph.D. thesis]. Monterey, California, Naval Postgraduate School.

         MEGGIT (2018) FATS® 300MIL immersive virtual training system. [Online] USA: MEGGITT. Available from: < https://meggitttrainingsystems.com/simulation-training/fats-300-immersive-virtual-training-system/> [Accessed 27th October 2018].

  • Miller, J. and Page, S. (2007) Complex Adaptive Systems. 1st ed.  USA: Princetown University Press.
  • MOD (2017) UK Defence in Numbers Report [Online]. London: MOD. Available from: <https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/652915/UK_Defence_in_Numbers_2017_-_Update_17_Oct.pdf> [Accessed 28th October 2018].
  • NATO (2003) Virtual Reality: State of Military Research and Applications in Member Countries Technical Report [Online]. France: Research and Technology Organisation (RTO). Available from: <http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a411978.pdf> [Accessed 27th October 2018].
  • Weinstein, D. (2017) NVIDIA Reveals Holodeck, Its Ground-breaking Project for Photorealistic, Collaborative VR. NVIDIA blog, 10th May 2017 [Online blog]. Available from: <https://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2017/05/10/holodeck/> [Accessed 28th October 2018].
  • Raytheon (2012) Raytheon, motion reality demonstrates fully immersive, small unit tactical training system at us army’s bold quest [Online]. USA: Raytheon. Available from: <https:// http://investor.raytheon.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=84193&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1749291> [Accessed 27th October 2018].
  • Sennersten, C. (2010) Model-based Simulation Training Supporting Military Operational Processes [Ph.D. thesis]. School of Computing, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden.
  • UKDJ (2017) MoD statistics show sustained drop in size of British Armed Forces [Online]. London: UK Defence Journal. Available from: <https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/mod-statistics-show-sustained-drop-size-british-armed-forces/> [Accessed 28th October 2018].

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