Sound simulator-training requires the presence of qualified simulator-instructors to set up training scenarios, run the simulator, and monitor student actions. The number of students that can be trained on the simulator, and how long it takes to train them, has therefore been largely dependent on the availability of instructors. The 3KEYMASTER™ Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS) enhances instructor capabilities by automating many of the routine instructor functions performed in conjunction with simulators. The ITS allows instructors to script lessons that run automatically on the simulator, record both student actions and simulator response, and offer varying degrees of online help when needed. Instructor focus is freed to concentrate on greater value-added tasks, and students can accomplish a significant amount of learning without the presence of instructors. The end result is better utilization of the simulator and the instructors' time.
The ITS is not intended to replace the simulator instructor, but rather to augment and leverage the instructor’s knowledge and expertise through the innovative utilization of existing technologies. When used with an instructor, the ITS serves as an additional source of student mentoring and advice. When used without the presence of a simulator instructor, the ITS permits the student to practice carefully structured exercises for the purpose of refining or refreshing skills and expertise without being allowed to practice "bad habits” or improper plant operation.
The crux of the ITS’s success in aiding instructors lies in its flexible Lessons functionality. These Lessons can be customized to simulate a wide range of plant issues, from malfunctions to normal operating procedures. Lessons can be embedded with text and video files to provide students with additional guidance (Mentor mode) or stripped of all assistance for a life-like environment (Test mode). Furthermore, students can use simple voice commands to communicate with the ITS, minimizing distraction and preparing future plant operators for the rigors of the job.