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  Live/Synthetic Option Analysis




Studies have demonstrated that significant cost savings can be achieved by shifting training from the live to the synthetic domain with minimal impact on individual and team performance – i.e., attain same standards at reduced costs. However, selecting the right balance of live/synthetic training for a system (i.e., aircraft, frigate, armored vehicle, satellite, and so) is not easy. Dozens of interrelated factors impact the decision. For example, which synthetic and live options are available; which training activities are best suited for live, synthetic, or mixes of the two; how much time, money, personnel and resources would each of these options require; can existing infrastructure support all options; who will develop, implement and support each alternative; and where will the savings come from? Determining the appropriate mix is further confounded by the fact that collecting or deriving cost data can be difficult; and each job/position will require a different balance of live and synthetic training since the type and level of training impact the decision. 

Assessing the right balance of live/ synthetic training for a system involves the capture, analysis, management and optimization of thousands of interrelated variables – and is best attained through ADVISOR Enterprise a web based decision support tool that stores all data in a relational database. ADVISOR manipulates complex assortment of inputs including instructional requirements, safety, costs, available resources, etc., into meaningful outputs that add clarity to the decision making process. For illustration, a brief outline of the analysis process is presented:

  • Available media (i.e., instructor-led, self-study books, videos, eLearning, conferencing, virtual classroom, gaming, mobile learning, social learning, performance support, trainers, simulators and virtual reality) are identified.


  • Next, to minimize the effort to conduct the analysis without compromising the results, training activities are divided into Groups with similar characteristics. For example, all Fact based Knowledge Learning Objectives are placed in the same Group.


  • Viable delivery options for each Group are revealed by mapping training requirements to the capabilities of available media. Options that do not meet a critical requirement (e.g., required level of display, control, hardware, system, motion, audio or video fidelity) are eliminated. Remaining media are rated based on the % of training requirements met. 90% rating, for example, indicates that media met 90% of overall requirements including all critical requirements.


  • The most economical training options are than identified by forecasting and comparing the costs of viable media over life cycle. These may included, for example, out-of-pocket expenses, as well as personnel needed to design, develop, administer, manager, deliver, maintain and support the delivery option. In addition to pinpointing potential savings, the cost analysis facilitates resource management by identifying upfront versus recurring costs, and resources needed over the life-cycle.


  • Next, organizational readiness to implement new learning technology is assessed to identify risks as well as actions and associated costs needed to mitigate those risks. 

  • The right balance of live/synthetic training is uncovered by compiling, computing and comparing the effectiveness, costs, resource requirements, benefits and limitations of plausible blends of delivery options to determine the strategy that makes the most sense given existing infrastructure and resources.

Our process offers valuable insight on which specific variables should be taken into highest consideration and why, as well as how to generate the data needed to support a final recommended solution. 


Since 1987, BNH products and services supported hundreds of teams in meeting the training requirements of various government, corporate and military organizations, and produce highly effective and efficient training solutions. BNH competitive advantage stems from our in-depth knowledge of Canadian, US, UK and Australian military standards, experience with government, corporate and military organizations and our decision support tool ADVISOR Enterprise that greatly reduces the analysis time. 

A September 2011 study for Canadian Army revealed that selecting the right balance of live/synthetic training for armored vehicles would lead to a $49.3 million in direct and indirect savings over a 10 year period with minimal impact on individual and team performance.


A study for extending a nine-month instructor–led Command and Staff College course to 390 officers for the Canadian Forces College revealed that adopting a blended delivery option would result in over $22 million savings in an up-front sunk investment for new school facilities, as well as a $6 million in annual recurring costs.


ADVISOR simplifies and speeds training needs analysis, forecasts and optimizes training resources, improves resource allocation, generates audit trail to support recommendations and meets the requirements of various military standards. Moreover, by storing all data in a centralized database, accessible anytime and from anywhere with only a browser, we greatly facilitate collaboration and sharing of data among team members, minimize duplication, increase usability and productivity, as well as quickly identify the impact of future changes to tasks, systems, sub systems and policies on training requirements. As a result, the effectiveness, efficiency and relevance of training programs can be maintained over the life cycle, which will in-turn preserve performance, minimize costly errors and keep training programs effective, efficient and relevant. 

BNH has proven track record. Our products and services have been successfully implemented on several projects in Canada, US, UK, Australia, Netherlands and Singapore - including Operational System Training Provider (OTSP), Tactical Airlift (C130J), Air Force Technical Training Renewal (ATTR), Maritime Helicopter (CH148), Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), Basic Wing Course (BWC), Blackhawk (CH-53K), Poseidon (P-8A), Military Flying Training System (MFTS), Defence Training Review (DTR), Army Land Vehicle Crew Training, Polar Ice Breaker, Canadian Forces Naval Engineering School (CFNES) Weapons Engineering Technicians and others.

For more information or to discuss your specific needs, please contact us by E-mail or call us 1 514 745-4010.


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