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A formative evaluation of a surface warfare simulation to improve problem solving

, University of Southern California, United States

University of Southern California . Awarded


One of the duties of the US Navy is to train officers to operate complex equipment and to lead personnel at sea. These officers must be capable of making split-second life and death decisions under conditions of uncertainty and stress. The consequences of poor decision-making can range from minor to catastrophic. Improving the problem solving skills of officers can eliminate or reduce the numbers and severity of mistakes.

This investigation included a pilot study and a main study. The small-scale pilot study investigated two simulators used at a US Navy school. The first result of the pilot study was the selection of one of the simulators as the focus of the investigation for the main study. The second result was to test the procedures to be used in the main study.

The main study was a formative evaluation of the effectiveness of the simulator selected in the pilot study, the Multi-Mission Team Trainer. The formative evaluation activity questions and the key evaluation questions for the instructors and the students were adapted from O'Neil, Baker, and Fisher (2002). An effective simulation should improve the problem solving skills of officers. Questions relating to retention and transfer measured the problem solving strategies of the officers.

The reactions to the Multi-Mission Team Trainer were generally positive. Some areas of improvement suggested by the participants in the study are included. An evaluation of retention and transfer of knowledge learned in the simulator resulted in findings of 24% retention and 09% transfer for knowledge.

The dissertation includes an introduction to the subject, a literature review, a methodology section, a results section, a discussion section, a section on summary, conclusions, and implications, references, and appendices. The significance of the study is to evaluate the use of simulation to improve problem solving ability of officers serving on ships.


Fox, F.S. A formative evaluation of a surface warfare simulation to improve problem solving. Ph.D. thesis, University of Southern California. Retrieved August 3, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

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