Supporting real-time decision-making under stress in an online training environment

Liz Bacon, Lachlan MacKinnon, David Kananda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Multi-Agency crisis management represents one of the most complex real-world situations, requiring rapid negotiation and decision-making under extreme pressure. However, the training provided to Gold Commanders (strategic planners) typically lacks the stress of a real crisis, while research tells us that behavior and decision-making are significantly affected by stress. It is, therefore, vital that training puts trainees under the pressure of a real crisis situation as far as possible. The Pandora+ system, developed from an EU FP7 research project, provides a unique, original, realistic, immersive, and augmented reality training environment in which the stress of each individual trainee can be managed by the trainer, during a training event, with the support of system intelligence. The system uses AI planning techniques to model an unfolding crisis scenario, realized as an event network, which can be dynamically updated by the trainer during a training event. This modeling includes points of decision for trainees managed by automated rules from a knowledge base, behavioral modeling of the trainees, and dynamic management of the environment to provide affective inputs to control and manage trainee stress. In this context, the system controls and reacts to trainee performance in relation to the events and decision points and can dynamically remodel and reconfigure the event network to respond appropriately to trainee decisions. The environment can also represent any missing trainees within the scenario and has the potential to provide training in any domain where a timeline-based scenario of events is required for training. This entire approach is completely novel in crisis training and has been rigorously tested in several trials, the most recent involving close to 150 participants, and has the potential to transform online learning in many domains, not just crisis management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-61
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Revista Iberoamericana de Tecnologias del Aprendizaje
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • eLearning
  • Decision support
  • Smart environment
  • Crisis management training environment
  • Time-lined based event network


Dive into the research topics of 'Supporting real-time decision-making under stress in an online training environment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this