Training Effectiveness Evaluation for Virtual Technologies and Environments (VIRTE)


Joseph Cohn, PhD


Naval Research Laboratory

Washington DC


Interaction with VE involves the ability of individuals to effectively perform essential perceptual-sensory-motor tasks within the virtual world. More specifically, this can involve the ability to move about the VE, manipulate virtual objects, locate virtual sounds, deal appropriately with physical constraints, or perform visual tasks (i.e., discriminate colors; judge distance; search for, recognize, and estimate the size of objects). Interactive technologies include multi-modal 3D displays and input devices, real-time rendering, and distributed simulation. These technologies define how the environment is portrayed and how it responds to user actions. As these technologies mature, tools are needed to provide a more comprehensive assessment of the quality of interaction. VIRTEís Training Effectiveness Evaluation (TEE) effort was conceived for just this purpose.


Our approach takes maximum advantage of the growing knowledge base in human-centric design to build systems that are well-suited for enhancing performance of real-world tasks.In addition to traditional Knowledge Acquisition and Knowledge Engineering approaches, our interdisciplinary development team is utilizing team task analyses, motion sickness evaluations, and usability analyses. The team is also developing a comprehensive approach for showing performance enhancement through VE training. This cross-disciplinary approach gives the team a unique perspective into designing effective, low cost, deployable simulations.The technology testbeds that are being developed are useful not only for stand-alone training, but also for embedded training, team training, and mission rehearsal.



Brief Biography:


LT Joseph Cohn is a designated Aerospace Psychologist. He received his PhD in Neuroscience from Brandeis Universityís Ashton Graybiel Spatial Orientation Laboratory. His thesis worked focused on human motor performance using both Virtual Reality and real-time Telepresence systems. Results from this work indicated specific changes to future simulator designs, as well as to the training programs that utilize them. His work also explored the effects of altered gravitoinertial force fields on movement accuracy aboard NASAís zero gravity trainer at Johnson Space Center, as well as in the Graybiel Labís Slow Rotating Room facility. He completed his postdoctoral studies at Florida Atlantic Universityís Center for Complex Systems, under the guidance of Dr. J.A.Scott Kelso, where he focused on identifying the impact of environmental context on movement planning. While serving as the Lead, Training Effectiveness Evaluation, at the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, LT Cohn developed a novel approach for incorporating human centered design approaches into Virtual Environment simulation development and directed the simulator sickness evaluation effort. As well, LT Cohn co-developed time series analysis technique for evaluating the degree to which VE training enhances real world performance. Currently, LT Cohn serves as the Lead, Requirements and Training for VE at the Naval Research Laboratory and is developing a paradigm for using posture and orientation as an active for probe for underlying cognitive state.