Virtual game teaches navy recruits

U.S. Navy recruits in boot camp have a lot to learn, such as safety and how to communicate with team members, skills that can make a difference in a crisis.

Combining technology with the science of learning, a 3D virtual training single-player game developed by a team of researchers, including the University of Central Florida and Raytheon BBN Technologies, has recruits gaming to learn safety skills, how to navigate aboard a Navy vessel and how to operate in a crisis.

With oversight and funding from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), UCF students and professors with the RETRO Laboratory of the Institute for Simulation and Training worked on the computer game “Damage Control Trainer,” which teaches recruits how to respond when two ships collide at sea.

UCF Psychology Professor Clint Bowers and his wife, UCF professor and lead researcher Janis Cannon-Bowers, led the UCF research team that contributed to the design of the game.

“Students at boot camp don’t understand how hard it is for the person making the decision to have a good mental picture of what’s going on,” Clint Bowers said. “We tried to build into the game lots of opportunities to practice communicating effectively.”

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