7. ADVANTAGES GAINED BY SIMULATION ENGINE COMMONALITY
7.1 Curriculum Development Facilitated
Software commonality has permitted a seamless transfer of existing single and part task exercises from the FMS library to the new NPTT exercise library. Instruction and practise of single and part task skills such as basic rule of the road. navigation procedures and radar work have been shifted directly from the heavily utilised FMS to the NPTT.
Simulator exercises and lessons required to support the NPTTs new self-study capabilities were developed using existing simulation assets. The exercise development tools for the FMS and the NPTT are identical. New instructor-monitored and self-study exercises can be developed by the experienced simulator instructors at either of the FMS sites and transferred to any satellite NPTT. This eliminates the requirement for additional trained simulator operators and exercise developers at each NPTT site. The compilation of 40 self-study exercises was conducted in conjunction with other project developmental work, such that an identical turnkey system, complete with basic curriculum, was delivered to all 24 sites in early 2003.
7.2 Homogenous Simulation
Commonality of visual/radar area database files and ship hydrodynamic models eliminates any differences in the simulation fidelity between the FMS and the NPTT. The only major difference for the student between FMS and NPTT part task training will be that the NPTT requires him/her to interact with his/her environment via a computer screen and mouse, vice operating real equipment. There was also a tremendous cost saving incurred by eliminating the need to purchase supporting area database and ship model software.
The NPTT can serve as the primary procedural trainer for new students. Familiarity with the NPTTs emulated instruments have minimised the need for equipment familiarisation training in the FMS or on ships, FMS throughput is further maximised as they can be used exclusively for complex training endeavours.
The NPTTs at the Naval Operations School can function as adjuncts of the FMS when tied to its network, expanding the number of Ownship bridges that can participate and interact in any exercise. For example, a ship's team practising underway replenishment in the FMS, while manoeuvring to join the replenishment vessel, could have to pass through a line of "cadet" ships practising simple formation manoeuvres using several NPTT stations. Potentially, NPTTs at satellite locations such as the Reserve Divisions or aboard ships could link up to exercises that are being controlled and run by one of the FMS in Esquimalt or Halifax.
8. IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NPTT INTO THE EXISTING TRAINING INFRASTRUCTURE
The exact distribution of the initial 63 NPTTs is stipulated below. Additionally, in the long term, it is hoped to further expand the de-centralised training role to include ship deployed part task trainers. All 26 sites have access through the Internet to a centralised learning management system. This allows any instructor to create an e-learning exercise and then publish it to a central database that can be accessed by any student.
8.1 Naval Officer Training Centre - Cadets
Thirty stations have been installed at the Naval Officer Training Centre. There are 26 stations in a networked laboratory to support mutually interactive part task simulations and independent self-study. The other four NPTTs will be mobile, stand-alone systems used as instructional and illustrative tools in classrooms.
8.2 Naval Reserve Training
Thirty Stations are used in direct support of Naval Reserve Training across Canada. Seventeen Reserve Divisions will have a stand-alone station for independent self-study. Five additional Reserve Divisions will be designated as regional training centres and will receive two stations each. This simple network configuration can function as either an instructor/student or dual student stations, and will support limited team training in addition to self-study. Fleet School Quebec uses three stations as a re-configurable mini simulator to support its specific Naval Reserve coursing requirements.
8.3 Naval Operations School - Fleet Training
The final three stations are used by the Naval Operations School to supplement curriculum training as well as Fleet continuation training that require use of their FMS. These stations are tied into the FMS network to provide the FMS with an expanded mutually interactive simulation capability. Additionally the three NPTTs will have the flexibility to be used for independent self-study or as instructional and illustrative tools.
Figure 5: Nation Wide Simulator Sites.
9. CENTRALISED TRAINING ROLE OF THE NPTT
The basic nature of the NPTT as an instructional tool will be controlled through log on protocols and the onboard Learning Management System (LMS). When an instructor logs on to the system, he/she has access to the exercise compilation tools. the ability to load and run exercises, and is able to assign the requisite number of student stations to a particular simulation. When a student logs on to the NPTT, he/she has no access to instructor facilities, and may only select self study exercises relevant to his/her level of training.
9.1 Instructional Classroom Simulations
The four mobile NPTTs serve as dynamic and fully adaptive classroom illustrative tools to supplement traditional lecturing methods. The instructor is able to demonstrate concepts at the group level using real time simulation when the topic is introduced. For example, when teaching radar theory, he/she illustrates the effects of radar tuning controls or the use of parallel index lines. Previously, this could only be done in the FMS with several students at a time gathered around an actual radar display.
9.2 Interactive Simulation Laboratory
The NPTT laboratory, with its 26 student- stations, has allowed the Navy to merge the instructional and illustrative process with initial hands on practice. During normal working hours, each student practices newly instructed skill sets at their own workstation under the supervision of an instructor. The instructor can very effectively cover a broad range of topics and Officer of the Watch procedures with up to 26 students simultaneous]y. The NPTT classroom is also conducive to demonstrating specific techniques in a single task, or layered fashion as each student focuses on his/her own computer monitor that is configured to support the relevant task at hand. Topic dependant, the student body may or may not interact with one another during this time period. This instructional technique will be highly efficient and will provide a further reduction in the training load of the FMS.
Figure 6: NPTT Laboratory.
NPTT FLOOR PLAN
RM 109 & 110
9.3 Self Study
The NPTT laboratory also serves as a self-study and homework venue. Cadets have designated exercises to complete independently, utilising the NPTT in self-study mode; and are recognised as part of a particular class at log-on. In this instance, the instructor software runs in the background in an automated mode. The LMS logs the number of times that a student conducts a particular exercise and record his final score. The NPTTs e-Coach functions and Student Evaluation System ensure that each serial is provided with meaningful monitoring, feedback and scoring. Since all cadets complete an identical self-study programme, the e-coach provides a source of highly standardised mentorship, which in turn should generate junior officers who analyse and respond to similar situations in a homogenous fashion. If a student experiences excessive difficulty, or is unable to comprehend key instructional objectives via the automated tutor, his/her exercise history is saved to file for post analysis with an instructor.
The NPTT has allowed the Navy to bridge the traditional gap between classroom instruction, and the demonstration of mechanical and cognitive skill sets in an FMS or shipboard training/evaluation environment. This approach provides the student with the opportunity to practise a new skill or concept in a controlled, yet non-threatening milieu, as frequently as required in order to develop competence. From a training management perspective, other than curriculum development, this new capability requires virtually no additional instructor resources and does not lengthen the current cadet training timeline.
10. DE-CENTRALISED TRAINING APPLICATIONS
In contrast to the employment of the NPTT at the Naval Officer Training Centre, the Naval Reserve utilise the NPTT in a de-centralised training environment with a student base, which spans a much broader range of skill levels.