Freeze Technique and Reflection/Debrief

Simulation-based training for situation awareness has two main benefits. First, it enables the scenario to be stopped at any point in time, such that aspects of situation awareness can be explored or assessed. This so-called ‘freeze’ technique was first suggested by Endsley as a technique for enabling the objective measurement of situation awareness by freezing a simulation and asking participants a series of probes relating to each of the three levels of situation awareness.31 When augmented with the opportunity for critical reflection and debrief, this becomes a powerful training technique.

Recently, the benefits of this technique have been empirically demonstrated in diverse settings. One study demonstrated that this technique was associated with increased task performance, lower workload, and superior subjective and objective ratings of situation awareness compared with a control group who were only given traditional technical skills-based training.32 This technique will be discussed in more detail in the following section on assessment of situation awareness.

Controlled Manipulation of Events to Degrade Situation Awareness and Demand Situation Awareness Recovery

Simulation-based training allows a much more controlled and safe introduction of factors that are known to degrade situation awareness. A simulator scenario can be crafted such that periods of high workload, distractions and surprise events can easily be scripted and participants must draw on each of the skills that underpin high levels of situation awareness.

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