Embedded Training

All posts tagged Embedded Training

With the ringing in of the New Year it is once again time to recap the Top 10 blog posts from 2010. Happy New Year to everyone!

Study Shows Video Games Really Do Train People!
In the article entitled “Video Games Can be Highly Effective Training Tools, Study Shows: Employees Learn More, Forget Less, Master More Skills” a study from the University of Colorado Denver Business School established that those trained by video games do their jobs better, have higher skills and retain information longer than that of workers learning in a less interactive environment.

Top 10 Training Mistakes Organizations Make
All too often organizations make the same age old mistakes when choosing and implementing a training program. Below is a list of 10 common training mistakes that organizations make time and time again.

Linden Lab and the Future of Virtual Worlds
With the recent announcement of Linden Labs (you know the company behind Second Life) to begin restructuring, one must wonder what the future has in store for our friends. Does this really translate to the end of all the hype surrounding virtual worlds?

So it’s not exactly decision-based or a virtual world, what the heck is it?

We are officially announcing a new capability of which we are very proud: ‘Hybrid Simulations’…where we lovingly bake in the best elements of Decision-Based Sims with the cost-effectiveness and flexibility of Virtual Worlds.

Training Today’s Military Forces
Military forces around the world rely on computer-based simulators to provide invaluable training for today’s warfighters. More and more military branches are turning to the simulation and virtual training market to increase retention and performance of our treasured warfighters, maximizing the benefits of this training technology.

Entertainment…Militainment

Militainment, huh? Just the name makes it sound so gamey and just plain wrong for training today’s techno savvy warfighters. The title itself belies the high standards of military training today. Take for example the official U.S. Army game called America’s Army, while it is a wildly popular gaming application and not to mention a great online recruiting tool, it’s still just a game.

Emulating Human Voice-overs with TTS Voices, Part Two
Since there was great interest in a blog entry last Fall called, ‘Emulating Human Voice-overs with TTS Voices’ I have elected to present those lessons as a Vlog, and so it makes sense that we give this newer presentation the same title, but suffixed with ‘Part Two’.

Serious Training Calls for Serious Games
Proven to be more effective than traditional training methods, Serious Gaming (SG) has many unique advantages. It’s not a new concept- it has been around for awhile dating as far back as 1977 when Clark Abt discussed the idea and used the term in his book, although it wasn’t directed to computers at that time.

E-Learning: Is It Really Worth It?
In a prior post I touched briefly on how e-learning tends to be, well, oversold. To follow up on this I wanted to review the relative costs associated with e-learning and compare to other technologies. With nearly one-third of training content being delivered electronically (according to ASTD’s 2008 State of the Industry Report) it’s no wonder it is such an easy go to.

Virtual Worlds & Training…Do They Mix With Social Media?

Social media seems to be all the rage right now. Is it really possible to infuse social media into a virtual world space? Would it be beneficial or detrimental?

The ITEC Conference held May 18-20th, 2010 in London is Europe’s largest and most established Defense Training and Simulation Conference and Exhibition. ITEC 2010 provides expert insight into the opportunities and challenges driving developments in the Defense Training, Education and Simulation industry, along with hands-on experience of new and proven solutions from world leading defense companies and smaller specialist suppliers. The UK is second to the US in terms of defense training spending and is ideal to play host to Europe’s annual defense training, education and simulation event.

On May 18th, 2010 Ed Heinbockel, President and CEO of Visual Purple will be presenting a session entitled “Embedded Training: Overcoming Challenges to Train the United States Military.” Covered within the session will be the drivers that created and influenced the identification of the need for embedded training and the process employed to produce the simulations. Not for the faint of heart, the harsh realities of a nine month production cycle will be shared along with anecdotes and lessons-learned from both production and client perspectives to include cultural and technical challenges.

Embedded Training simulations use stories to train users of complex software systems. These embedded training simulations contain all the best features of Visual Purple decision-based simulations (described below), but are built in to (or essentially reside as a layer on top of) the client software. Users experience a compelling story that motivates them to excellence while training on their own software system. One hundred percent of Visual Purple embedded training translates into performance improvement because the on-the-job software becomes the training software – nothing gets lost in translation!

Complex systems are ripe for embedded training. The U.S. military recognizes the value of fusing realworld software applications with advanced training simulations. This fusion permits the trainee to use the actual software application and become proficient in not only the buttonology, but to gain an appreciation and understanding of the “big picture” as well. Future Combat Systems (FCS), a major Army modernization program (and currently being redefined and renamed), has as one of its core tenets that both collective and individual training be embedded to increase efficiency, improve retention, enable on-demand, anytime-training, reduce costs and ultimately reduce or eliminate the often costly and cumbersome logistics tail associated with in-theater training.

In late 2008, Visual Purple released its first embedded trainer to support our warfighters in theater. Utilizing a vast array of proven simulation technology, Visual Purple is able to provide immersive 3D embedded training to a variety of sectors. Resident in Visual Purple’s approach to embedded training is that the advanced training simulation reacts to the software application as it is driven by a training database. This approach allows users with no training whatsoever on the software application to be guided to mastery at their own pace. As trainee skills evolve the embedded trainer reacts and increases the tempo reducing time-to-train. Visual Purple’s proven approach to embedded training in some ways represents the Holy Grail of training in today’s increasingly complex and data intensive world.

“- Link to”
YouTube Visual Purple Visual Purple Embedded Training Trailer

So how much should training really cost- well it is all dependent upon the type of training. Fun fact: Did you know that the global market for learning is worth over $2 Trillion dollars? The price for different types of training does vary significantly from medium to medium. Training Industry recently estimated the following numbers:
2008 expenditures for training services was approximately $129.2B, down from $132B in 2007.
• The 2009 market is predicted to drop to $116B; the steepest single year decline in the industry since 2001.

According to Bersin & Associates – The Corporate Learning Factbook 2009:
“The U.S. corporate training market shrunk from $58.5 billion in 2007 to $56.2 billion in 2008, the greatest decline in more than 10 years. Average training expenditures per employee (which include training budgets and payroll) fell 11 percent over the past year – from $1,202 per learner in 2007 to $1,075 per learner in 2008. Staff resources also took a hit. In 2008, large companies employed 3.4 training staffers per 1,000 learners, down from 5.1 per 1,000 in 2007; mid-sized companies employed 4.9 staffers per 1,000 learners in 2008, compared to 7.0 staffers per 1,000 in 2007.”

Other findings:
The average number of formal training hours dropped from 25 hours per learner in 2007 to 17.2 hours in 2008. Training consumption dropped most substantially among small and midsize businesses, with learners taking 33 percent fewer training hours, on average, than in 2007
• Although instructor-led classroom training remained steady (at 67 percent of all training hours), the proportion of e-learning decreased for the first time ever in 2008. Companies also reduced their use of virtual classroom training, so that (combined with self-study e-learning) the total amount of online training dropped from 30 percent of training hours in 2007 to 24 percent in 2008. This shift illustrates the industry’s steady move toward informal learning and social networking.
• As companies downsized their training staffs, many turned to external providers to fill the resource gaps. Large businesses, in particular, outsourced more functions to third-party providers in 2008, as their staffing numbers were hardest hit.

Virtual worlds are now the new go- to for the government, military and corporate sectors as a cost savings proposition. But not only cost savings exists- organizations are also turning to virtual worlds for immersive training environments. Virtual worlds are easily tailored to the customers’ needs- thus allowing for lower cost of development and a shorter development time frame when compared to traditional training and learning delivery methods.

Military organizations are turning more and more to ‘serious’ game-based simulations to train war fighters. We were pleased to see that ReportLinker echoes our outlook on the military simulation and virtual training market to “increase significantly” in the future. Forecasts within the report are for the 2008- 2018 timeframe, the report projects military simulation and virtual training market will generate multi-billion dollar revenues in years to come. The report, cites difficulties with “training costs” and “time and risk of life” that have “forced military forces around the world to adapt technologies such as computer-based simulators and computer wargames in military training.” The summary notes that both combat and non-combat uses of virtual applications will rise in number.

According to ReportLinker, “Increasing concerns over training costs, time and risk of life have forced military forces around the world to adapt technologies such as computer-based simulators and computer wargames in military training. Most importantly, simulation and virtual training have so far proved to be not only cost-effective but also an effective way to train military staff in a wide range of activities. Those functions range from weapons training to flying and even medical training. Both combat and non-combat applications for military simulations and gaming technologies with increase significantly during the period 2008-2018.”

See Visual Purple’s work in embedded training technology for the military.

“- Link to”
YouTube Visual Purple Embedded Training

By David Ostby, Chief Technical Officer, Visual Purple, LLC

The days of the ‘rifle and canteen’ soldier are gone. And it’s not that today’s soldiers no longer carry rifles and canteens. But in today’s complex military environment, more is needed to survive and succeed. More and better intelligence, more speed, more accuracy; in a word, more information. Lots of it. And quickly.

Of course, along with all this information comes a dire need to manage it. Imagine data streaming in from hundreds of sources and sensors. The acronyms alone are daunting. Acronyms like FCS, DCGS, CMT, ISR… the list goes on and on. They’re all part of the New Army’s plan to up gun today’s soldier into the next generation soldier. It’s been given the name “Future Combat Systems or FCS.”

FCS soldiers are expected to assimilate massive amounts of battlefield data and make actionable sense of it. Behind each one of those acronyms is a world full of complexity. The only way to collect and manage that amount of data is by the use of sophisticated systems and software. The learning curve is steep: FCS soldiers have to become quick experts in multiple complex software tools – their lives and the lives of their fellow war fighters depend upon it. The need to train the soldier in its use is as daunting as the complexity of the software itself.

This situation hatched the idea of embedded training and its maxim “train as you fight, fight as you train”. Instead of using tedious manuals and classroom lectures, embed the training inside of a simulator which resides inside of the software. Present the soldier with realistic scenarios inside the software, so that the soldier must use the actual software to resolve the situation.

This is easier said than done. The trainer would have to fit seamlessly into the mother application. Also, it would have to allow the user to make mistakes and robustly redirect the user onto the right path, all the while maximizing each learning opportunity as it appears. The mother application builders don’t usually have these kinds of simulation production skills.

To build an embedded trainer, you’d want to hire a company with extensive expertise in training simulations. And you’d want them to have worked with the DoD in that arena. Turns out that Visual Purple is just such a company, and we had our first opportunity to build an embedded trainer in 2008.

What does it look like? How does it work?

Stay tuned…

Embedded Training (ET) is defined as “training provided by capabilities built into or added onto operational systems, subsystems, or equipment, to enhance and maintain the skill proficiency of personnel”. This being said, the revolution of this type of training is only just beginning. The Virtual Environment within Embedded Training provides the opportunity to take military training to the next level and allows personnel to train anywhere, anytime. This type of “collective training” puts information needed right at the fingertips of eager trainees, and enables them to train during downtime. The U.S. Military recognizes that its complex systems are prime for this type of training capability and have been investing heavily into future training technologies within the past few years. 3D Embedded Training allows for advanced simulation technologies to present embedded training concepts in a series of realistic scenarios enabling tactical decision making. The underlying technologies present make the capabilities that Embedded Training offers, virtually limitless.

Welcome to the Visual Purple blog site which is primarily focused on providing you with the latest in training and technology that takes place in the Virtual World and Embedded-Training sectors. And now let me introduce you to who we are and what we do…
Visual Purple is on the forefront of technological advancements and trends with the exciting addition of business efficiency solutions and training scenarios taking place through Virtual World spaces, Embedded and Decision-Based training. Virtual world simulations offer compelling experiences, dramatic interactions, and sustainable collaborative environments. As the saying goes “not all things are created equal”, well neither are training solutions.

The blog entries will be intentionally kept short for a quick read and the majority of blog entries will be written in an informal style for easy reading. I encourage you to subscribe to the RSS Feed so that you will automatically receive new blog entries as soon as they are posted. At Visual Purple, we are passionately focused on changing the way people train. So stay tuned to the Virtual Speak blog- there is much more to come! We welcome any and all comments and/or feedback that you may have.

Megan Rutherford
Business Development