Human Element Called Vital as AI Integrates with Virtual Trainers

By Allyson Park

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ORLANDO – Artificial intelligence can improve military training and simulations through interactive 3D models and environments along with augmented and virtual reality. However, industry experts said there’s an important human element missing from virtual trainers.

“While [it does] create more opportunities for reaching students, the platform itself doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to get better student engagement or better learning outcomes,” Dennis O’Dell Jr., user interface and user experience designer at Pinnacle Solutions Inc., said at a presentation at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference.

“There’s some really good research out there that [supports] a blended learning scheme, so pairing e-learning with face-to-face, one-on-one instruction, actually is better than either one of those alone,” he said.

Since the beginning of e-learning and virtual training, industry has been using virtual characters, or avatars. Now the question is, can the military and industry take current and emerging technology to try to replace the face-to-face instruction of blended learning, especially in high-cost, high-risk situations?

“One of the reasons that this is important is that social interaction is part of human nature. We engage students better when we interact and when things adapt to them,” O’Dell said.

“Establishing roles [is important]. So, if you have a virtual character, creating a role — whether it’s an expert, motivator or mentor — they all achieve different learning outcomes based on what they were,” he said.

While there are still many concerns and limitations with AI, such as hallucinations, industry is actively working on solutions.

“AI is going to be transformative in pretty much every field, not just education,” O’Dell said.

“From the standpoint of virtual training, there is immense potential in providing bespoke, adaptable, engaging content delivered in a way that we’re used to as human beings talking to other human beings,” he said. ND

Topics: Cyber, Emerging Technologies

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