Individual versus Team Situation Awareness Training

There is a significant difference in the approach that needs to be adopted with respect to training for situation awareness at the individual level compared with the team level. For the individual, training focusses predominantly on the cognitive processes described above. However, at the team level, another set of processes is critical. Training at this level requires a focus on the skills associated with the development and maintenance of a shared mental model. This includes skills in planning, information exchange, resolution of conflicting understandings, workload and task delegation, and communication strategies more broadly.25 Here, we see quite plainly the cross-over and interaction between aspects of non-technical skills.

Exposure to Factors That Degrade Situation Awareness

Beyond simply focussing on the development of skills in the underlying facets of situation awareness, it is also important to consider training in the management of factors that are known to lead to degraded situation awareness, as identified in the previous section. The use of data, such as from incident reports or investigations, to identify the underlying causes of degraded situation awareness has been identified as an important strategy for training needs analysis for situation awareness training programs.26

With respect to the ‘startle effect’ described previously, more frequent exposure to unexpected events and a focus on strategies to manage the negative effects of that startle have been suggested as highly beneficial.27 It is likely that this training approach would generalise to other factors that can lead to degraded situation awareness, such as high workload conditions, stress and distractions.

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