The development of a rich multimedia training environment for crisis management: using emotional affect to enhance learning
PANDORA is an EU FP7-funded project developing a novel training and learning environment for Gold Commanders, individualswho carry executive responsibility for the services and facilities identified as strategically critical e.g. Police, Fire, in crisis management strategic planning situations. A key part of the work for this project is considering the emotional and behavioural state of the trainees, and the creation of more realistic, and thereby stressful, representations of multimedia information to impact on the decision-making of those trainees. Existing training models are predominantly paper-based, table-top exercises, which require an exercise of imagination on the part of the trainees to consider not only the various aspects of a crisis situation but also the impacts of interventions, and remediating actions in the event of the failure of an intervention. However, existing computing models and tools are focused on supporting tactical and operational activities in crisis management, not strategic. Therefore, the PANDORA system will provide a rich multimedia information environment, to provide trainees with the detailed information they require to develop strategic plans to deal with a crisis scenario, and will then provide information on the impacts of the implementation of those plans and provide the opportunity for the trainees to revise and remediate those plans. Since this activity is invariably multi-agency, the training environment must support group-based strategic planning activities and trainees will occupy specific roles within the crisis scenario. The system will also provide a range of non-playing characters (NPC) representing domain experts, high-level controllers (e.g. politicians, ministers), low-level controllers (tactical and operational commanders), and missing trainee roles, to ensure a fully populated scenario can be realised in each instantiation. Within the environment, the emotional and behavioural state of the trainees will be monitored, and interventions, in the form of environmental information controls and mechanisms impacting on the stress levels and decisionmaking capabilities of the trainees, will be used to personalise the training environment. This approach enables a richer and more realistic representation of the crisis scenario to be enacted, leading to better strategic plans and providing trainees with structured feedback on their performance under stress.
Keywords: affective computing; augmented reality simulations; affective impact in eLearning; timeline-based crisis scenarios; emotional markup