WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 17–30 | Cite as

Simulator training for maritime complex tasks: an experimental study

  • Karina HjelmervikEmail author
  • Salman Nazir
  • Andreas Myhrvold


Training simulators are largely deployed to provide operators working within complex systems to instil adequate skills to handle normal and abnormal situations. Improved technology and higher computation power have significantly increased the use of training simulators in the training programs. The goal of this pilot study is to determine the design of training in order to prepare for complex tasks within the maritime domain. In this experimental study, students are trained to perform docking operations when ocean currents with increasing complexity are introduced in the training program. The effect of the training is evaluated by comparing two groups: one trained with homogenous currents and the other with heterogeneous currents. Objective performance measures are used to analyse the participants’ performance. The results indicate that when the participants were exposed to tasks with gradually increasing complexity, they performed better as compared to those who were exposed to complex tasks too early in the training. The results suggest that even though the technology and computational power provide for new possibilities in training simulators, new features that make the tasks more complicated should not be included too early in the training without sufficient investigation. It is also found that increasing functional fidelity of the simulation during training has resulted in the improved performance of the participants during the complex tasks (docking operations), as compared to those training with the highest fidelity from the beginning.


Education and training assessment Simulator training Maritime education and training Learning theory Competence Ocean currents 



The experiments were performed in the SimStrøm research project in a cooperation between Kongsberg Maritime and the University College of Southeast Norway. The project was funded by the regional research fund Oslofjordfondet (research grant no. 248723). We would like to thank Stefan Backmann, Anders Nes and Svend Nordby for facilitating the experiments and for their valuable contributions.

Compliance with ethical standards

The experiment was performed in accordance to the ethical standards laid down in the 1991 Declaration of Helsinki. All participants signed a consent form.


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Copyright information

© World Maritime University 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Technology and Maritime SciencesUniversity College of Southeast NorwayNotoddenNorway

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