New training strategy improves operator performance more than 25%

Aug. 24, 2015
ShadowBox flips the focus to training higher-level, cognitive skills that experts have gained through years of experience, and are critical to their success.

In a project funded by the Center for Operator Performance (COP), Joseph Borders and Dr. Gary Klein tested the ShadowBox Training technique and discovered operators were completing the scenarios in less time and produced a 26% improvement in identification of problems.

The ShadowBox Training technique was developed in conjunction with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration (DARPA) on a high fidelity ethylene plant simulator. The technique has the trainee at key decision points 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. Results will be available at the Nov. 17 to 18 COP Member Meeting in Houston, Texas.

The Center for Operator Performance is a collaboration of operating companies and DCS suppliers that conducts research focused on ways to improve operator performance. The operating companies include Chevron, Koch Industries (Flint Hills Resources, Invista Chemical, Georgia Pacific), SUNCOR Energy (PetroCanada), and NOVA Chemicals. DCS suppliers include Emerson and Yokogawa.

Learn more about ShadowBox Training here. 

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