Usability Optimization of a Military Training System

Usability Optimization of a Military Training System

Roberto K. Champney (Design Interactive, Inc., USA), Christina M. Kokini (Design Interactive, Inc., USA), Kay M. Stanney (Design Interactive, Inc., USA) and Stephanie Lackey (University of Central Florida, Institute for Simulation and Training, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4046-7.ch015

Abstract

While the application of usability engineering principles and methods is similar in commercial and military contexts, there are key requirements and challenges in military domains that must be addressed. The aim of this chapter is to describe the application of a combination of usability engineering methods in the development of a military training system. The case involves the research, design, and development of an instructional support system to help instructors and warfighters find and execute suitable training lessons that meet their training needs. Through the application of multiple methods (contextual task analysis, iterative designs, heuristic evaluations, formative and summative evaluations), the requirements for the system were identified, the system was then designed, developed, and iteratively improved to optimize key operational performance identified with the support of field stakeholders.
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Setting The Stage

Design Interactive, Inc. (DI) and the Institute for Simulation and Training (IST) were members of a multidisciplinary team involved in a science and technology project that sought to integrate pedagogical insights learned from science into innovative technology to satisfy the instructional field needs of the United States Marine Corps (USMC). The team was charged with conducting research on the latest pedagogical methods and on the instructional needs of Marines in the field. The findings of this research were to be integrated into the design and subsequent development of an instructional support system that Marines could use at their training locations. At the same time, budgetary pressures have forced the military services to “develop results-oriented performance metrics that can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of their training…initiatives” (US Government Accountability Office, 2011). This led the project sponsors to impose key performance criteria that the system should achieve in order to be acceptable for transition into the fleet’s repertoire of tools.

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