LT Ryan McBride, USN, graduated today (6/20/14) with an MS in MOVES. As part of his degree, he wrote a thesis describing his work measuring the effects of an intelligent tutoring system (ITS) upon learners’ performance.
McBride created an experiment to evaluate the effects of using an ITS on the performance of users performing a detect-to-engage (DTE) sequence. A DTE is the procedure Navy ships use for detecting an unknown air contact, querying it to determine whether it is a threat, warning it if it approaches a ship too closely, and engaging it with missiles if it doesn’t react to warnings and move away from the ship. McBride created DTE scenarios in TAO Sandbox, a training simulation created at USC for use at Surface Warfare Officers’ School, and built an ITS system to advise users on proper DTE procedures as they ran the scenarios.
For his experiment to determine the efficacy of such as system, McBride ran an experiment where both a control and an experimental group ran three DTE scenarios. The difference between the two groups was that the experimental group received tutoring from the ITS during the second scenario while the control group did not. The third run was scored for performance in several areas normally graded by ships’ observers in the performance of actual DTEs in the fleet. The experiment provided useful data that was able to demonstrate that statistically significant learning occurred when the experiment group was compared to the control group.
CDR Joe Sullivan, USN, PhD, and Perry McDowell served as thesis advisers for LT McBride’s thesis.