Microgames for Training Perceptual Skills

Guarino, S.1, Jarvis, R.1, Mahoney, S.1, and Connell, M.2

Presented at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC), Orlando, FL (December 2014).

A common challenge in military training lies in motivating personnel to practice and retain lessons in the limited time they have available. A training methodology that can exploit the moments of “micro-boredom” that lie between missions and other duties can help to address this challenge. However, exploiting those moments requires training methods that are self-motivating, can be completed in isolation (e.g., without trainer interaction or forcing factors), and of a duration that can easily fit in these available time slices. To address this need, we are exploring the application of microgame-based training tools—games that provide critical lessons in periods lasting no more than a few minutes—across a number of domains. Here, we describe our ongoing effort with the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to adapt microgames to augment perceptual training. Specifically, in this work we adapted microgames to support training objectives for the Marines’ Combat Hunter program, a program that focuses on training perceptual skills needed to recognize threats in urban environments. Designed to augment existing training, our engaging microgames assist Marines to prepare for in-classroom training, provide practice lessons during class, and rehearse lessons learnt after training is complete. In this paper, we describe our work designing these games, and some of the lessons we learned in adapting microgames to perceptual training objectives. In future work, we plan to further evaluate and test these games, and to extend our game library to address other Combat Hunter training objectives.

1 Charles River Analytics Inc.
2 Institute for Knowledge Design, LLC

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