A Framework for Model-Based Adaptive Training

What are the Training Needs?

Training specification starts with a requirements definition. This initial analysis does not consider a computer based implementation. The methodology requires a clear starting point. This starting point can be captured with a training purpose statement. This is always driven by business requirements. In the MOBAT framework, a training purpose is:

  1. defined by a short sentence;
  2. defined by a concise statement that makes business sense;
  3. distilled from the training environment; and
  4. readily understood as a training need.

There are two typical ways a training subject can be decomposed: (a) a training purpose is decomposed into training objectives; and (b) a training need is decomposed into a topic and subtopic hierarchy. As presented with Proto-MOBAT (see Section 4.5), both of these methods can be used in the MOBAT framework. The training objectives are a decomposition of training purpose. The training objectives can be defined either before or after the process of training topic analysis. Defining objectives is a well recognised key activity in the specification of any training course. The construction of well-written instructional objectives is an important issue [Gagne, Briggs & Wager 1992]. In the MOBAT framework, the intention is to have a computer realisation of training objectives. Rather than trying to put all desirable attributes (i.e., properties of training objectives that are necessary from a computer realisation viewpoint) in training objective statements, a set of different attributes at the end of the training specification process is intended to result in specific, measurable, and achievable training units. Further details of training units are described in the realisation chapter (see Table 7-1 MOBAT Training Unit Properties). In the MOBAT framework, training objectives are defined as:

  1. aspiration level training goals;
  2. bridging training purpose into action statements;
  3. a set of main tasks adding up to the training purpose;
  4. a level that is more abstract than detailed training tasks (which are defined by task decomposition); and
  5. a set which, with a desirable precision, express the main tasks a trainee is expected to learn (to perform).
A training analysis is typically done by trainers (i.e., authors). A training analysis in industry can involve a hierarchy from course title to topic(s) and subtopic(s). This hierarchy is viewed as a conceptual map of the training domain (e.g., see Figure 4-3 Partial Concept Hierarchy). The result of this training analysis is effectively a simple concept map created by non-programmers (i.e., people without any flowcharting or programming skills). The approach to training analysis in typical Computer Based Training (CBT) requires the trainer author to be able to write a sequence of pages and define how they are linked to deliver a course. That is, the trainer author needs to be able to write flowcharts. In this context the trainer author needs to know the CBT tool and have some notion of computer programming. In the MOBAT realisation, a dynamic (i.e., adaptive and reconfiguring) training plan will be maintained by the training system so the trainer author is not distracted by the need for flowcharting. A concept map allows trainers to concentrate on expressing their training ideas rather than flowcharts. This map should contain the representative elements that are essential to fulfill training purpose. Creating the concept map is not about planning the sequence of training or curriculum design. A concept map is simply a graph that represents training topics, themes and ideas.
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