Summaries - Research
Back Determining Effects of Training in Virtual Environments Upon Implicit Learning
|Division||Research & Sponsored Programs|
|Department||Naval Research Program|
McDowell, Perry L.
Kennedy, Meghan Q.
Khan, Rabia H.
|Sponsor||NPS Naval Research Program (Navy)|
|Summary||Many Navy classrooms/labs rely heavily on training technology. As part of the drive to ready, relevant learning, traditional education spaces, (brick and mortar schools) may be replaced by virtual classrooms, where content is delivered primarily via computers. Use of virtual environments (VE’s) is increasing as part of shift. Instead of interacting with a pump on a bench, a Navy trainee may interact with a virtual pump inside a VE. There are many advantages to this: for example, the pump can be shown running and the student can follow a drop of liquid while seeing its pressure, velocity, and other important characteristics, impossible using a real pump. A VE delivers large amounts of information quickly, primarily as an explicit learning experience. However, the science of learning indicates that much learning also occurs implicitly, and that much of implicit learning occurs through physical sensations. Patients with brain injuries that precluded their retaining any new explicit knowledge (most famous among them H.M.), have demonstrated that they could still learn tasks requiring physical interaction. FMRI scans have shown that this implicit knowledge appears to be stored differently in the brain than explicit knowledge, and that the retrieval mechanism also differs. Some studies have even suggested that knowledge stored implicitly decays slower. This is worrisome given the growing interest in using simulated equipment in training VE’s to replace real equipment for operational and maintenance training. Therefore, we intend to investigate whether using 3D simulations in place of hands-on training effectively transforms motor skills that may have been learned in a hands-on training environment, and therefore imbedded in procedural memory (e.g., pump repair/maintenance), to more fragile episodic memory (i.e., faster rates of decay). Skill decay is especially important to the Navy, since many Sailors do not use the skills learned in schools for months after graduating.|
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