In a project funded by the Center for Operator Performance (COP), Joseph Borders and Dr. Gary Klein recently tested the Shadowbox Training technique, developed in conjunction with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration (DARPA), on a high fidelity ethylene plant simulator. The technique puts trainee at key decision points to prioritize actions, objectives, or information requirements. Their responses are compared to those of experts recorded earlier. A counter-balanced experimental design showed that exposure to the Shadowbox approach resulted in the operators completing the scenarios in less time and produced a 26% improvement in identification of the root cause of the problem.
The next phase of the study is to develop and administer the Shadowbox scenario on one unit, and then administer the test to operators on a similar unit. The goal is to understand the relative benefits for scenarios that are unit-specific versus generic. These results will be available at COP's member meeting on Nov. 17-18 in Houston, Tex. Interested organizations are invited to attend. COP is a collaboration of operating companies and DCS suppliers that conducts research focused on ways to improve operator performance.