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Expert interview: Simulations

Watch the video in which Dr Yung-Fang Chen discusses the role of simulations in exercising.
Modern technology has helped emergency and disaster managers to plan and deliver their exercises. So, examples such as the e-learning platform that is pretty good as a training facility, but nowadays we have moved on to utilise different type of simulators so, for example, flight simulators to simulate a more realistic scenario. At the same time we also utilise virtual world platforms, virtual reality and augmented reality to help with immersive needs. So, we utilise a safe environment to create a scenario such as, you know, flying an airplane. So participants, they can learn the techniques and skills before they really fly a real airplane. The development of modern technology has allowed us to train from one person to multi agencies from different locations.
XVR simulation platforms has developed several scenarios to help us to exercise large-scale incidents, for example; responding to earthquake, flooding or large-scale fires. We also utilise them to exercise how to evacuate a large amount of affected population from different disasters. Injects are like surprises. They are there to help participants to react to the scenarios so they will be able to understand whether or not they understand the procedures or plans and to facilitate participants to engage and immerse in the exercise. The utilisation of a gaming element is to integrate the fun bit with training, with learning.
So we want the participants to be able to learn from fun and so we try to integrate the elements like Lego, Monopoly or other computer games to enhance the learning, to create a more immersive environment for participants to engage in the exercise that we developed. Modern technology has some advantages, for example; the scenarios we created on the computer platforms we can utilise several times, so it can be cost effective. Nowadays we can generate more realistic scenarios and that can help us to be more immersed in the environment.
Asking about whether or not modern technology can test planning or procedures, actually to compare the traditional exercise and modern technology exercise, they are almost the same because the planning phase will be similar. So you will develop a scenario, you will develop the injects and then you will ask participants to engage with the exercise. But the difference is the technology that has been utilised. The exercise planners, they have to remember the question; who they are training, what they want to train - because the participants will have different learning styles, they have different preferences and also the level of the commanders.
So, for example, for the people who are sitting at operational or technical or strategic, they will require different type of training. So it doesn’t matter how far the technology has developed trainers or exercise planners they have to very carefully decide what is the most appropriate technology or platform or method. With the challenge of modern technology, emergency and disaster planning officers they started to utilise different ways to run their exercises. So, for example, they utilise the hybrid method. So, in Taiwan the fire service started to utilise combined traditional tabletop and also computer-based exercise. So they utilise the real-life information system to help them to give feed and injects.
At the same time in the UK we observe that, in the fire service, they also utilise drone technology to help them to capture the real-life scenario to help them to understand what is happening on the ground.
Watch the video in which Dr Yung-Fang Chen describes how modern technologies have lead to the availability of more methods in exercise development.
She describes what simulations are, what they entail and what they can achieve. Their use can be a cost effective technique and can provide better immersion than others such as table top exercises.
There are however similarities in terms of development with other exercise formats. Good design is still important to the success of the exercise, taking the objectives and requirements of the learners into account during the process.
Finally she also describes how hybrid exercises can be produced by mixing traditional exercise techniques with modern technologies.

Your task

With the development of technology what else do you think we can utilise in the future to further improve the realism of exercises?
Do you think we will still need low fidelity exercises
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Emergency and Disaster Training and Exercising: An Introduction

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