Cognitive Expertise by Repetition-Enhanced Simulation-based (CERES 2) Training continuation

Project: Research project

Project Details


Complex cognitive skills such as reading and understanding a topographic map are learned through a combination of classroom instruction, supervised field exercises and then extensive experience in the field. Achieving expert performance on these tasks currently depends largely on learning done in the field post-training, which occurs slowly and potentially expensively. The core of the CERES (Cognitive Expertise through Repetition-Enhanced Simulation-based) training is to accelerate the development of expertise by providing “sets and reps” on tasks that have not previously been available to practice as part of a training regimen. For topographic map reading and understanding, it has not currently been possible to do large numbers of training repetitions to accumulate experience on this cognitive process during instruction. CERES is a project working to fill that gap and enhance training of topographic map understanding. With simulation-based tools, we have created a preliminary framework where novel procedurally-generated terrain areas are created together with detailed topographic maps. First-person perspective videos are rendered from selected locations within these terrains and used to provide training content to help develop sensemaking connecting the visible surroundings to the topographic map representation. With carefully developed procedural content generation methodology, we are able to generate thousands of training content items to potentially include in training protocols. These items thus enable high-repetition practice in an easily accessible format to allow trainees to jump start the process of building expertise in understanding maps before working in the field. The CERES 2 project will continue development of this approach and work to more closely align our practice-based instruction with current classroom and field exercise Marine Land Navigation training (Task 1). The efficacy of this approach will be thoroughly assessed through multiple rounds of data collection with Marines currently receiving instruction (Task 2). Feedback from both instructors and students will be used to improve the training protocol to further maximize effectiveness. A major opportunity of this training approach is to further develop and refine adaptive training methodology to accelerate learning (Task 3). The core of the proposed adaptive training approach is to continually assess individual trainee performance and select content training items based on task difficulty level so that trainees always practice with challenging content on which they can succeed. The CERES 2 project aims to build a novel element to add to and enhance Land Navigation training through eventual self-directed Marine trainee use. The CERES app will bring information-age technology to bear on the challenge of building expertise in topographic map reading and sensemaking. The methodologies developed through this project in content creation and online tools for administration and assessment may further serve as examples for similar modern training approaches in other operationally-relevant content domains.
Effective start/end date4/1/221/31/24


  • Office of Naval Research (N00014-22-1-2162)


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.