DOWNLOAD: Assessment of Confidence Impact on Pilot Training Performance


Confidence in one’s ability to complete a task has long been thought to be a contributing factor in the actual performance of said task. So, what does this imply about the role of military training in building warfighter confidence and contributing to their overall readiness? Defense experts from Collins Aerospace, the University of Iowa, and St. Ambrose University set out to explore that question in a recent whitepaper titled, “Assessment of Confidence Impact on Pilot Training Performance.

“Instructional systems designers should design training solutions to maximize student confidence beliefs for optimal performance outcomes,” stated the whitepaper’s abstract. “The main focus of this research is to assess how core confidence relates to pilot task performance and cognitive workload, in a simulator and live flight environment. To understand the role of state-based core confidence in a training effectiveness framework, we associate it with our training effectiveness measures to determine how it changes through the training, how it varies between the simulator and live flight environments, and how its changes affect subsequent performance in both environments.”

The study observed a sample of novice commercial pilots and associated self-reported confidence measures collected at three different times throughout the training process, with continuous objective measures of task-specific performance and electrocardiogram (ECG)-based cognitive workload measures collected during simulator training and in alive capstone flight. During the study, the research team explored how confidence affected simulated training performance outcomes, how the simulated training performance environment may have contributed to overconfidence, and whether overconfidence is predictive of subsequent performance outcomes in a live flight environment.

The paper was authored by a team of defense experts from both industry and academia. They include:

  • Dr. Gianna Avdic McIntire, Principal Investigator and Systems Engineer in Collins Aerospace’s Advanced Technologies Immersive and Autonomous Systems group
  • Amy Dideriksen, PMP, Global Training Research Manager in Mission Systems at Collins Aerospace
  • Dr. Thomas “Mach” Schnell, Professor in Industrial and Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in Human Factors/Ergonomics at the University of Iowa
  • Colton Thompson, Flight Test Engineer at the University of Iowa’s Operator Performance Laboratory (OPL)
  • Katharine Woodruff, Systems Engineer in Collins Aerospace’s Advanced Technologies.
  • Dr. Jessica M. Greenwald, Associate Professor of Management at St. Ambrose University

Through this logic, it could be posited that reliable access to realistic, comprehensive training options could boost confidence for warfighters during the training process, potentially resulting in higher performance during training and in-theater.

You can download the full whitepaper in the Modern Integrated Warfare Resource Center here.