The Future of Training

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New Editor Andy Fawkes and SCT colleagues deep dive into key technologies which are driving the transformation of training.

The Future of Training

The simulation and training domain never ceases to interest me with its synergy of people and technology, and its challenges both enduring and emergent. It has a global community that for the most part shares its ideas and standards and looks to other sectors for innovation. So, at the start of the decade, what is the future of training in the safety critical sector and what are the challenges and opportunities that might lie ahead?

Will we still need training in the future? Given the current conversations around automation and AI one might think we will not need humans at all. However, although we see striking developments in both civil and military domains, it will be a long time before machines can be as versatile and agile in thinking as humans. It is more likely that the nature of many tasks will change and that there will be more human and machine teaming, so there will continue to be a need for training for the foreseeable future.

What of the people we need to train?

It is generally perceived that the newer recruits have different aspirations and learning styles to those of previous generations. Recruitment and retention can be significant issues so it is vital that we understand what recruits are seeking from a career, how they learn best and how to maintain their motivation - excellent training, transferable skills and a working environment which supports diversity will become increasingly important.

“at the start of the decade, what is the future of training in the safety critical sector and what are the challenges and opportunities that might lie ahead?”


What of future training? What is likely to endure is the extraordinary depth and breadth of safety critical industry training with pilots, doctors and nurses, offshore workers and so forth. Training will need to reflect the continuous, often rapid and disruptive change in these industries, resulting in the increasing digitisation of activities, together with changes in the geo-political context and unexpected crises such as caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Cost and time will remain critical drivers. Training will need to be faster, carried out anywhere, anytime and at less cost. In addition to technologies like the cloud, 5G and XR, approaches to training such as competence-based and gamification are likely to become standard with greater emphasis on tackling skill fade. The importance of instructors is unlikely to diminish; there may be less of them and AI may play a bigger role, but human interaction, storytelling and versatility will remain key.

How will training be delivered?

A consistent message from the safety critical sector around the world is the desire for innovation and greater agility in training provision; research and purchasing organisations will need to adjust accordingly but it will be important to balance this desire with the stability and security of long-term contracts.

Finally, when do we know we have trained effectively? Training measurements currently use predominantly qualitative methodology, but our ability to measure, analyse and store training data may in time lead to the adoption of a more quantitative approach. This will not only help in training design and optimisation but also provide better evidence to organisations to support investment in S&T.

The future of training looks as interesting and important as ever and the SCT team will continue to strive to bring the SCT S&T community the latest news and developments to inspire and inform.


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