JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO- Randolph, Texas – Futuristic training, the kind of immersive simulations seen in science fiction TV shows, is no longer a fictional dream. It’s already here. With the creation of a virtual reality (VR) training system of the transformation technical training team (T3), coordinated by artificial intelligence (AI), the officials of Air Education and Command of the Training are transforming the development process of aviators. At the forefront of this development are the axes of modern technology, high performance rates and an agile learning speed.
In collaboration with Air Force Base officials in Sheppard, Texas, the T3 team has reconfigured the basic Crew Chief Fundamentals Course into a virtual reality experience. In July and August 2020, 29 students wore VR gear and toured the program. They examined tools, maintained simulated planes, and achieved goals, all within a 3D environment in the workplace.
The results were impressive. In the final course evaluation, the scores of the students in the program were comparable to those of the students using traditional methods. However, both students and instructors commented on the quality of the T3 program, emphasizing how the aviation-focused and affordable program made the training and how the customized modalities were based on the world-class quality standards of the T3 program. AETC. They also finished the course 46% faster, completing the 27-day course in just 12.5 days.
“The T3 program is proven to be an effective learning model,” the senior sergeant master said. Toby Caldwell, 362nd Deputy Superintendent of the Training Squadron, who has been actively involved in overseeing the T3 training initiative in Sheppard since the beginning of the program. “As we continue to fulfill the mission of accelerating change, in the training environment we join the forefront of technological improvements.”
In June 2021, T3 will demonstrate an additional component: non-player characters. Once launched, students will interact with AI aviators by asking them questions and receiving instructions within the simulation. For example, a student who maintains an airplane could hold a conversation with an AI security forces aviator who would patrol the flight line and learn about safety protocols or ask questions about the area.
This AI interaction will help in the training of multi-skilled aviators and agile combat work, as students will have the ability to essentially exchange places with AI characters. A maintainer can learn the basic safety of the flights of an Airman of the AI security forces, or an Airman of the security forces can enter the program and become familiar with the maintenance of the AI aircraft .
The AI system will also continuously measure the student’s ability to complete core tasks and competencies, and will monitor performance throughout the aviator’s career, not just during technical training. This education-focused career model is based entirely on competency-based learning and a mission-centered, aviator-centered mindset that meets the students where they are.
The T3 team is developing and testing an app for courses that do not require VR. In the future, aviators will log on to their phone and begin consuming course information according to their preferred learning style. For example, visual students can watch videos and audio students can listen to them from anywhere, even while running. Along the way, AI capability will customize the program. For example, it will provide suggestions such as, “Hey, I’ve noticed that you’ve heard the lesson three times, but you still haven’t gotten a good score on the assessment. Why don’t you try watching this video or completing this exercise?”
“This training is about you. We no longer make you adjust our content, changing our content to suit your needs, “said Major Jesse Johnson, commander of Det 23 and T3.” This program not only provides more resources for students, but which also keeps pace with a new generation of learners who perform best outside of a traditional classroom.It enables the continuous learning and training of multi-skilled aviators who can train and expand their skills at any time. and anywhere ”.
According to Johnson, this program will bring air force training to the forefront of education around the world. He and his colleagues attribute this success to the strong network of Air Force collaborations.
“Our plan is to partner with Air Combat Command’s Agile Battle Labs and AETC’s Force Development Team (A3) to develop the training philosophy of airborne operators with the ability to agile combat, ”said Colonel Leonard Rose, director of Analysis and Innovation at AETC.
The T3 team considers training instructors or power generators as a first line of collaboration. The initiative aims to empower instructors by eliminating the need for detailed lectures, allowing them to focus on facilitating and answering questions rather than adapting to the typical “teacher” mold.
This type of student-centered instruction takes a turn around the traditional teaching method, where instructors are placed at the center of the learning process by distributing information to students. In a student-centered model, students have the power to explore and learn through discovery and practice while instructors act as mentors and coaches.
Apprentice-focused initiatives and an improved training infrastructure accelerate the training pipeline by allowing aviators to progress at the speed of learning. We are creating more complete aviators that are better prepared for an era of great power competition and we are developing a more resilient training company that can continue to operate in altered environments. All of this goes directly to the call of General Charles Q. Brown Jr.’s chief of staff. to accelerate or lose changes and the AETC’s priority to advance the development of strength.
“We are delighted to continue to use virtual and augmented reality to enhance our technical training courses here at Sheppard AFB. I think this type of training training could also eventually be used to help train our multi-skilled aviators in austere places, ”said the chief sergeant major. Jason C. Groth, 82nd Superintendent of the training group.
There are plans for two fully operational courses to be launched in Sheppard in 2022 with additional courses to follow. The two initial courses will be Crew Chief Fundamentals (2AX01 Air Force Specialty Code) and Logistics Planning (2G0X1 Air Force Specialty Code). The order of updates to the training courses is determined in accordance with the requirements necessary to grow aviators with multiple capabilities.
Schools wishing to explore VR training in their field can contact [email protected]