13th Conference on Applied Climatology and the 10th Conference on Aviation, Range, and Aerospace Meteorology

Wednesday, 15 May 2002: 4:30 PM
Computer Based Training for Issuing Lightning Advisories at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station / Kennedy Space Center
William P. Roeder, U.S. Air Force/45th Weather Squadron, Patrick AFB, FL; and S. C. Jacobs, J. E. Sardonia, J. W. Weems, C. S. Pinder, and M. S. Christie
Poster PDF (509.4 kB)
The 45th Weather Squadron (45 WS) recently implemented a new Computer Based Training (CBT) system covering all aspects of the lightning assessment process required to issue lightning advisories in support of America’s space program at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Kennedy Space Center. Lightning advisories are the most important day-to-day support provided by 45 WS. Space launch requires many weeks of outdoor work before the actual launch. Lightning advisories are vital for personnel safety and resource protection in central Florida -- ‘Lightning Alley’ of the United States. The CBT was named Basic Orientation and Lightning Training (BOLT). SIGMAinteractive Inc., a professional interactive multimedia training company, produced BOLT, in close cooperation with 45 WS during all phases of development.

BOLT consists of eight sequential, stand-alone lessons, and an extensive final exam. Lesson #1 is a basic overview of the 45 WS mission, with special emphasis on the importance of lightning and the 45 WS lightning assessment process. Lesson #2 illustrates lightning mechanics, especially the elements detected by various 45 WS lightning sensors. Lesson #3 teaches how to use the Lightning Detection And Ranging (LDAR) system, including both device operation and data interpretation. LDAR is a unique system that detects lightning stepped leaders and depicts the full three-dimensional structure of lightning flashes. Lesson #4 teaches how to use the Cloud-to-Ground Lightning Surveillance System (CGLSS), a local network of cloud-to-ground lightning return stroke detectors. Lesson #5 educates on how to use the Launch Pad Lightning Warning System (LPLWS), a local network of surface electric field mills. Lesson #6 covers the North American Lightning Detection Network (NLDN). Lesson #7 teaches 45 WS techniques for radar lightning forecasting. Lesson #8 is ‘Data Integration’ and details how to integrate all the lightning sensor data and forecast rules to issue lightning advisories. BOLT concludes with an interactive final exam covering all eight lessons.

BOLT provides all the traditional benefits of CBTs. Training is consistent, repeatable, and standardized. Training is self-paced. Training is available around-the-clock for better use of slack times or when dedicated trainers are unavailable. BOLT provides immediate feedback to correct initial errors--first learning is lasting learning. It provides interaction, animation, video, and narration, which is far superior to the more traditional single-dimensional, printed material based techniques; multi-media simultaneously supports the three main styles of individual learning (visual, aural, kinesthetic). Training is private, which facilitates asking “embarrassing” questions. Knowledge of subject matter experts (SME) is institutionalized. Training workload is reduced, so SMEs can spend their valuable time elsewhere. Traditional shortfalls of CBTs are high initial cost (which may be offset by higher quality training over an extended period of time), large personnel time to develop the CBT, reduced human interaction (the best form of training), reluctance by some to use computers, and it places the training burden on the trainee. BOLT overcomes many of the ‘human interaction’ shortfalls because it was designed both as an aid for human trainers and for self-paced, individualized training. BOLT was developed using the Instructional Systems Design process.

Supplementary URL: