CHANDLER, Ariz. — December 1, 2022 — VirTra, Inc. (NASDAQ: VTSI) (“VirTra”), a global provider of judgmental use of force training simulators and firearms training simulators for the law enforcement and military markets, has appointed Alanna Boudreau as chief financial officer, effective December 1, 2022.

Boudreau brings over 20 years of experience in managerial, financial and operating functions, most recently serving as group controller for The 600 Group PLC (AIM: SIXH), a publicly listed U.K.-based global industrial laser company. At The 600 Group, she oversaw all accounting activities for a business with over $30 million of revenues that included two manufacturing plants and offices in Orlando, Florida and United Kingdom. Prior to The 600 Group, Boudreau was an Accounting Manager at AdventHealth, a leading U.S.-based nonprofit health care company, where she oversaw accounting functions for 12 locations. Boudreau graduated Summa Cum Laude from the New York Institute of Technology, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She received an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

“Alanna’s familiarity in public company reporting requirements, combined with her extensive management experience and complementary skillset, will allow her to immediately contribute to the Company in a meaningful way,” said John Givens, co-CEO of VirTra. “Additionally, she comes highly recommended from prior professional history within the management team, which coupled with her over two decades of experience give us confidence that VirTra will benefit greatly from her addition.”

Boudreau commented: “I look forward to joining VirTra and hitting the ground running as CFO. This is an excellent opportunity to join a rapidly growing company that is making a meaningful difference in the efficacy of law enforcement and military training with world-class solutions. I am eager to work alongside the executive team in this role to continue the Company’s strong track record of financial performance.”

 

About VirTra

VirTra (NASDAQ: VTSI) is a global provider of judgmental use of force training simulators and firearms training simulators for the law enforcement, military, educational and commercial markets. The company’s patented technologies, software, and scenarios provide intense training for de-escalation, judgmental use-of-force, marksmanship, and related training that mimics real-world situations. VirTra’s mission is to save and improve lives worldwide through practical and highly effective virtual reality and simulator technology. Learn more about the company at www.VirTra.com.

Investor Relations Contact:

Matt Glover or Jeff Grampp

VTSI@gatewayir.com

949-574-3860

Starting today, VirTra is at I/ITSEC at Booth #641 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL! It is also our first Orlando-based event since the grand opening of VirTra’s new facility in the same city.

Every year we add new training scenarios, marksmanship capabilities, and add to our list of supported weapons. I/ITSEC is where we display the latest technology available to military units with the goal of keeping servicemembers well-prepared for the field.

 

Our Showcased Technologies

  • V-300® 4K—Ultra HD resolution that more accurately reproduces subtle visual details. This technology more perfectly replicates real-world encounters.
  • V-Threat-Fire®—The new version of the patented consequence device that delivers an electric impulse to simulate gunfire, explosions, etc.
  • V-Marksmanship – The program that gives warfighters customizable range options and accurate ballistics.
  • The Newest Recoil Kits & CO2 Magazines—The newest developments in hardware that transforms a live weapon to simulation-ready in minutes with no permanent modification. Now available for even more weapons!
  • Latest Development— Live real-time data analytics demonstration thanks to Vialytix! See the new way to collect and report training data.

 

If you are at the show, or will be in the next few days, come visit Booth #641 or reserve a private demonstration. Contact a product specialist to skip the lines and schedule time to experience the V-300 4K!

Realistic training is the obvious ideal for training officers to handle the different calls they might experience. Knowing how to draw and handle the weapons on their belt, knowing when or if they even need to draw their weapon, and being able to accurately use their weapons are all situations where realistic training would help to improve officer performance. This training can be executed in a few ways such as live role-playing or virtual scenario training.

 

Realistic Training with VirTra

VirTra helps prepare officers for the real-world by offering them a true-to-life experience within our virtual simulators. With four different simulator size options, ranging from one screen to five screens, our five-screen V-300® is our most immersive, realistic experience for training.

Additionally, each simulator is a comprehensive decision-making tool and equipped with our nationally-certified V-VICTA® curriculum that covers topics such as Active Threat/Active Killer, Injured Officer Handgun Manipulation, De-Escalation, and more. The scenarios for each topic are professionally-produced with real actors – departments even have the option to insert locations from their own communities in order to have a more accurate training experience!

We even provide a realistic firearm and less lethal weapon experience with our drop-in CO2 recoil kits and laser-based CEW device cartridges that fit into live handles. When weapons are utilized within the scenarios, the on-screen characters react accordingly, helping to teach officers the results of their different actions.

 

Training Through Stress

Not only does realistic training with a simulator help officers experience different situations but it also exposes officers to those situations in a stress-inducing environment similar to the one they might experience on an actual call.

A study done by R.R.D Oudejans states that “Reality-based practice under pressure improves handgun shooting performance of police officers” ¹. VirTra helps accomplish this by providing a fully immersive experience that requires officers to keep their head on a swivel and practice their situational awareness skills.

They also have the option of wearing our stress inoculation device, the V-THREAT-FIRE®, which simulates consequences within the scenarios such as gunshots and dog bites. With both of these training factors, the pressure is on and with that pressure can come improved performance and confidence for officers.

If you want to learn more about receiving realistic training for your department, contact a VirTra specialist.

 

References:

  1. Reality-based practice under pressure improves handgun shooting performance of police officers’

R.R.D. OUDEJANS; Ergonomics; Vol 51 No. 3; March 2008

Originally Published in IADLEST Magazine

Think about when you first became a law enforcement officer—whether it was a few years ago or decades. Either way, few officers had Red Dot Optics/Sights (RDS) mounted on their duty sidearms. But as time has gone on, technology has advanced and evolved to bring modern officers a tool that produces increased accuracy in the field. As such, pistol mounted RDS are becoming increasingly popular and departments everywhere are discussing the accessory.

A simple Google search will display dozens of departments nationwide who have made the switch to RDS, and often, their means of purchase. Since RDS isn’t exactly a cheap accessory—accuracy is critical, so understandably quality materials and precision cost more—some departments have to get creative with finding funds, whether it be through a fundraiser, donation or grant. This goes to show the dedication departments have to improving their officer’s abilities in the field.

So why do departments care so much about RDS? Simply stated, RDS allows officers to focus on the threat while overlaying the dot on its intended point of impact. It is easier, quicker and more accurate, making it a valuable tool to decrease liability in officer involved shootings. But as with any new technology, before jumping in, departments must fully understand both the transition from iron sights to RDS, as well as the pros and cons of this accessory.

To begin, the pistol mounted RDS was originated and popularized by Aimpoint®, which offers several models and versions, depending on the specific need. Differences can include MOA dot size, night vision settings, weight, submersible abilities, length and more—providing departments with the best accessories to fit their officer’s jobs. However, with all of these abilities comes a learning curve. The learning curve will be especially steep for veteran officers who have spent their careers relying on iron sights. It becomes a matter of learning to rely and familiarize oneself with a new sighting system. This, in addition to cost of new equipment and training, are the biggest cons to RDS.

That said, the pros to RDS are substantial. Some of the most notable are:

  • A pronounced jump in accuracy and passing scores for new recruits
  • Ability to aim with both eyes open, increasing situational awareness while reducing cross-dominance eye issues
  • Aid in shooter diagnostics, particularly isolation of the trigger

While the RDS is revolutionary, it does not replace the already-established fundamentals all officers know and were trained on. Stance, grip, trigger control and follow-through do not change, so officers simply need training on using the accessory. This reduces the learning curve to just learning the accessory, not having to change or relearn anything previously taught by instructors or the academy.

To aid in easing the learning curve, while also increasing one’s familiarity and expertise with the accessory, VirTra created a 4-hour nationally-certified course on the pistol mounted RDS. Titled “Red Dot Optic Training & Sustainment,” this course was created in collaboration with Victory First® utilizing the Acro P-2 by Aimpoint®. Instructors receive all materials needed to teach the course, such as pre-tests, surveys, rosters, instructor’s manual and, best of all, 21 training drills that are compatible with VirTra simulators to test the officer’s knowledge and RDS skill.

After all, classroom teaching can only get an officer so far. Extensive range training—whether it be on a physical range or virtual—allows for increased practice and familiarity that easily transitions to the field. VirTra’s virtual range is especially beneficial, as instructors can easily provide range training with the RDS right there in the classroom. Gone are the days of expensive marksmanship training, or that done with iron sights.

Since Pistol mounted RDS is a relatively new technology, your department may not utilize it, or at least not completely. But as your department transitions and modernizes, to ensure your officers are properly trained on this accessory, remember to train with nationally-certified materials. “Red Dot Optic Training & Sustainment” can help your department, no matter the size, unique difficulties or learning curve. Now is the time to embrace new technology, implement it and stay two steps ahead.

In discussing the difference between VR and AR Training with Police Magazine, Lon Bartel, director of training and curriculum for VirTra, touched on some points that explain why Augmented Reality Training for law enforcement can be more effective than VR.

The first problem addressed with Virtual Reality was “VR sickness” which is caused by the cognitive disconnect of when your senses are perceiving movement but your body is relatively still. Some trainers try to lessen this by having students sit in chairs while they are wearing the headsets but this can cause more harm than good when training.

Bartel further talks about how training in this way could cause bad training scars in that it trains students in practice to not move from the line when they feel the need to use force because they might bump into something or make themselves sick. Which is where Augmented Reality Training comes in to combat this.

AR allows students to utilize and move around their real environment by having the system insert people or items in order to enhance the real-world space that they are in. This is different from VR because the student’s senses and the body’s movement are less likely to contradict each other, mitigating the sickness that comes with Virtual Reality.

Another point Bartel touches on is the use of CGI in VR training. With CGI characters, students are likely to experience the Uncanny Valley effect, which explains that people would be, “repelled and revolted by interactions with robots that appear ‘almost human’ but not exactly human”.

This creates a challenge in de-escalation and use-of-force training because the CGI characters are unable to represent the subtleties of human behavior. Students are then faced with the difficulty in be unable to read the character’s emotions and not knowing if they are reacting to the threat or the “subconscious aversion” that they have towards the virtual character.

Conversely, Augmented Reality allows agencies to place real people to play the roles of the characters in the training scenarios. Additionally, these “characters” are able to exist in the real space that the student is in. Thus, the student is interacting with humans displaying real emotions in a real-world space, creating a more effective training environment.

To learn more and read the full article, click here!

Record Bookings of $16.7 Million, up 52%, Driving Record Backlog of $28.3 Million, up 30%

 

CHANDLER, Ariz. — November 14, 2022 — VirTra, Inc. (NASDAQ: VTSI) (“VirTra”), a global provider of judgmental use of force training simulators and firearms training simulators for the law enforcement and military markets, reported results for the third quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2022. The financial statements are available on VirTra’s website and here.

 

Third Quarter 2022 Highlights:

  • Record third quarter 2022 bookings of $16.7 million, 52% year-over-year growth
  • Record backlog of $28.3 million at September 30, 2022
  • Received orders worth $9.0 million from two U.S. Federal agencies under existing contract with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
  • Received CAD $1.2 million (approximately USD $0.9 million) follow on order in Canada under exclusive standing offer
  • Working capital surplus of $25.7 million, including unrestricted cash and cash equivalents of $15.7 million

 

Third Quarter 2022 Financial Summary:

  • Total revenue of $4.9 million
  • Gross profit of $2.5 million, or 51% of total revenue
  • Net loss of ($803,000)
  • Adjusted EBITDA loss of ($214,000)

 

Nine Month 2022 Financial Highlights:

  • Total revenue increased 24% to $19.7 million
  • Gross profit increased 28% to $10.9 million, or 56% of total revenue
  • Net income of $562,000
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $1.7 million

 

Third quarter and Nine Month 2022 Financial Highlights:

Management Commentary

“Our third quarter was one of the strongest in our history as far as new sales orders secured as we continue to work on numerous initiatives to scale up and streamline our operations while leading innovation in our market,” said Bob Ferris, chairman and co-CEO of VirTra. “We had a record quarter for bookings at $16.7 million, representing 52% year-over-year growth, driving our backlog to a record level of $28.3 million, largely due to some of our largest orders in our history with federal clients. While shipments were somewhat slower in the quarter, contributing to the lower revenue, we view the high level of bookings as positive indicators for future business.”

John Givens, co-CEO of VirTra commented, “Since the end of the third quarter, we announced the official opening of our Orlando, Florida facility that provides us with a critical presence in the epicenter of the military simulation market, a market we have high aspirations for more significantly penetrating. Additionally, to continue our track record of innovating with world-class training solutions, we introduced the ‘VirTra Volumetric Video’, or ‘V3™’. V3 combines the best of high-definition video capture and computer-generated imagery to provide a novel, industry-first training solution. We believe V3 will become the standard for effective de-escalation training in the future, giving VirTra another competitive advantage, and industry veterans and customers tell us it is a ‘game changer’. With a strong capitalization position that includes $15.7 million of cash, VirTra remains well-position for continued growth within the law enforcement and military markets.”

 

Third Quarter 2022 Financial Results

Total revenue decreased 20% to $4.9 million from $6.1 million in the third quarter of 2022. The decrease in revenues for the three months ended September 30, 2022 as compared to the same period in the prior year is due to unbilled sales not yet being recognized.

Gross profit decreased 12% to $2.5 million from $2.9 million in the third quarter of 2021. The decrease in gross profit was due primarily to lower revenue. Gross profit margin was 51%, an increase compared to 47% in the third quarter of 2021.

Net operating expense was $3.6 million, compared to $2.6 million in the third quarter of 2021.  The increase was primarily due to expenses related to the move into the new building, Orlando location, and increased payroll costs.

Loss from operations totaled ($1.1 million) compared to income from operations of $266,000 in the third quarter of 2021.

Net loss totaled ($803,000), or ($0.07) per diluted share (based on 10.9 million weighted average diluted shares outstanding), a decrease compared to a net income of $1.3 million, or $0.12 per diluted share (based on 11.0 million weighted average diluted shares outstanding), in the third quarter of 2021.

Adjusted EBITDA, a non-GAAP metric, totaled a loss of ($214,000), compared to $520,000 in the third quarter of 2021.

Backlog at the end of the third quarter totaled $28.3 million, compared to $21.7 million at the end of the third quarter of 2021.

 

Nine months Ended September 30, 2022 Financial Results

Total revenue increased 24% to $19.7 million from $15.8 million for the first nine months of 2021.  The increase in sales for the nine months ended September 30, 2022 resulted from an increase in the number of simulators and accessories completed, delivered and revenue recognized compared to the same periods in 2021.

Gross profit increased 28% to $10.9 million from $8.6 million for the first nine months of 2021. The increase in gross profit was due to the product mix of systems, accessories and services sold. Gross profit margin was 56%, an increase compared to 54% for the first nine months of 2021.

Net operating expense was $10.3 million, compared to $6.9 million for the first nine months of 2021. The increase was primarily due to expenses related to the move into the new building, Orlando location, and increased payroll costs.

Operating income was $681,000, a decrease compared to an operating income of $1.7 million for the first nine months of 2021.

Net income totaled $562,000, or $0.05 per diluted share (based on 10.9 million weighted average diluted shares outstanding), a decline compared to a net income of $2.5 million, or $0.25 per diluted share (based on 10.1 million weighted average diluted shares outstanding), for the first nine months of 2021.

Adjusted EBITDA, a non-GAAP metric, totaled $1.7 million, a decline from $2.3 million for the first nine months of 2021.

 

Conference Call

VirTra’s management will hold a conference call today (November 14, 2022) at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time (1:30 p.m. Pacific Time) to discuss these results. VirTra’s chairman and co-CEO, Bob Ferris and co-CEO John Givens will host the call, followed by a question-and-answer period.

 

U.S. dial-in number: 1-844-825-9789

International number: 1-412-317-5180

Conference Code: 10172500

 

Please call the conference telephone number 5-10 minutes prior to the start time. An operator will register your name and organization. If you have any difficulty connecting with the conference call, please contact VirTra’s IR team at 949-574-3860.

The conference call will be broadcast live and available for replay here and via the investor relations section of the company’s website.

A replay of the conference call will be available after 7:30 p.m. Eastern time on the same day through November 28, 2022.

 

Toll-free replay number: 1-844-512-2921

International replay number: 1-412-317-6671

Replay ID: 10172500

 

About VirTra

VirTra (NASDAQ: VTSI) is a global provider of judgmental use of force training simulators and firearms training simulators for the law enforcement, military, educational and commercial markets. The company’s patented technologies, software, and scenarios provide intense training for de-escalation, judgmental use-of-force, marksmanship, and related training that mimics real-world situations. VirTra’s mission is to save and improve lives worldwide through practical and highly effective virtual reality and simulator technology. Learn more about the company at www.VirTra.com.

 

About the Presentation of Adjusted EBITDA

Adjusted earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation, and amortization and before other non-operating costs and income (“Adjusted EBITDA”) is a non-GAAP financial measure. Adjusted EBITDA also includes non-cash stock option expense and other than temporary impairment loss on investments. Other companies may calculate Adjusted EBITDA differently. VirTra calculates its Adjusted EBITDA to eliminate the impact of certain items it does not consider to be indicative of its performance and its ongoing operations. Adjusted EBITDA is presented herein because management believes the presentation of Adjusted EBITDA provides useful information to VirTra’s investors regarding VirTra’s financial condition and results of operations and because Adjusted EBITDA is frequently used by securities analysts, investors, and other interested parties in the evaluation of companies in VirTra’s industry, several of which present a form of Adjusted EBITDA when reporting their results. Adjusted EBITDA has limitations as an analytical tool and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for analysis of VirTra’s results as reported under accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“GAAP”). Adjusted EBITDA should not be considered as an alternative for net income, cash flows from operating activities and other consolidated income or cash flows statement data prepared in accordance with GAAP or as a measure of profitability or liquidity. A reconciliation of net income to Adjusted EBITDA is provided in the following tables:

Forward-Looking Statements

The information in this discussion contains forward-looking statements and information within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, which are subject to the “safe harbor” created by those sections. The words “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “expects,” “intends,” “may,” “plans,” “projects,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “predicts,” “potential,” “continue,” “would” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. We may not actually achieve the plans, intentions or expectations disclosed in our forward-looking statements and you should not place undue reliance on our forward-looking statements. Actual results or events could differ materially from the plans, intentions and expectations disclosed in the forward-looking statements that we make. The forward-looking statements are applicable only as of the date on which they are made, and we do not assume any obligation to update any forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements in this document are made based on our current expectations, forecasts, estimates and assumptions, and involve risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause results or events to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements. In evaluating these statements, you should specifically consider various factors, uncertainties and risks that could affect our future results or operations. These factors, uncertainties and risks may cause our actual results to differ materially from any forward-looking statement set forth in the reports we file with or furnish to the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). You should carefully consider these risk and uncertainties described and other information contained in the reports we file with or furnish to the SEC before making any investment decision with respect to our securities. All forward-looking statements attributable to us or persons acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.

 

Investor Relations Contact:

Matt Glover and Jeff Grampp, CFA

Gateway Group, Inc.

VTSI@gatewayir.com

949-574-3860

 

VirTra, Inc.

Condensed Balance Sheets

 

VirTra, Inc.

Condensed Statements of Operations

(Unaudited)

 

VirTra, Inc.

Condensed Statements of Cash Flows

(Unaudited)

During and after the pandemic, people became much more aware of how many disease can spread. Mitigating the spread of disease as a first responder goes beyond just COVID-19. Officers are in close contact with many people, and any of them could – knowingly or unknowingly – have an infectious disease.

Understanding the diseases and sicknesses that are at the highest risk for law enforcement officers to obtain is the start. Officers also benefit from understanding how diseases can spread and what the signs and symptoms are.

VirTra’s “Infectious Diseases” course provides 4 hours of material for officers to learn from. There are also 3 associated scenarios to help officers practice interactions.

 

Common Diseases and Infections

Disease can be caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, or fungi. Viral infections are a common way for first responders to become sick due to contact with the public. HIV, tuberculosis, COVID-19, hepatitis, and the common cold are some examples of viruses obtained through direct or indirect contact.

To become infected with a virus/bacteria, typically one of the following contacts have occurred:

  • Exposed to the saliva or respiratory droplets of an infected person. This can happen when the person coughs, sneezes, or even speaks loudly in close proximity. Tuberculosis and COVID-19 may spread in this manner.
  • Contact with the blood, urine, or excrement of an infected person. This occurs when a person encounters an unclean environment that contains traces of the listed substances. It can also happen if pricked with a needle used by a person with the disease or if these substances come in contact with an open wound. Hepatitis and HIV may be spread this way.
  • Contact with an animal carrying the virus. A scratch or bite that exposes you to the saliva can transfer a viral infection. Rabies is a virus spread in this manner. Animal excrement may also carry disease.
  • Consuming contaminated food may lead to both viral or bacterial diseases. E. coli and some Hepatitis variants may be obtained through contaminated or expired food.

The list above is certainly not exhaustive. Some organisms may even linger on objects that were handled by someone with a virus. This is why it is important to take reasonable precautions if there is a risk of becoming ill.

 

Preventing the Spread of Diseases

While it is not always foolproof, there are several ways to greatly mitigate the spread of disease. Decreasing the risk of infection can be as simple as washing your hands or avoiding touching your nose and mouth.

Washing your hands frequently – not just when you believe you have touched a sick person – is important. If you unconsciously touch your face with unclean hands or eat without washing them, you could pick up an organism. Make sure your hands are either thoroughly washed with soap, or that you use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Using personal protective equipment (PPE) may be necessary to avoid contact with contaminated surfaces or airborne particles. Gloves, face masks, and eye protection are some examples of PPE that can be used on the field if needed. N-95-rated masks may be required for specific organisms to be effective.

It is also recommended that you stay home if you feel ill. You may have a weak immune system and expose yourself to other viruses, plus you may spread a virus to other colleagues. If you are predisposed to infection or have a weakened immune system, taking more precautions helps you better prepare for possible exposure to germs.

 

VirTra’s Infectious Diseases Simulated Scenarios

Our V-VICTA® course, Infectious Diseases, allows not only for classroom learning, but for real world practice. Some scenarios deal with an individual coughing, letting the officer decide how to handle the situation while protecting themselves. Another deals with irate people who do not wish to comply with a business’ PPE rules.

The scenarios help supplement the learning of this important topic. The course comes with an entire manual containing instructor guides, note taking materials, tests, scoring rubrics, and more. Even better? When the course is completed, students receive a certificate of completion and earn NCP credit.

If you are interested in VirTra’s coursework and want to learn how to incorporate it into your agency’s training regime, contact a specialist.

When selecting a training method for your officers, you want to make sure that you are choosing one that has scientific evidence behind it while also keeping your teams engaged and retention rates up. You can get all of these things when you train with the VirTra simulators!

VirTra prides itself in its work with science-based technology for law enforcement. With that, our technology and curriculums are designed to immerse trainees into real-world scenarios that help them develop their decision-making skills, firearm skills and much more in a way that has been proven to be effective.

 

Different Training Applications

With the simulator comes a variety of training applications and focuses. From crisis response and de-escalation to marksmanship, different trainers will likely all choose different focuses depending on what they see as a priority at the time. But all of these focuses play important roles in rounding out the officer training experience.

One question some might have is how to train their officers in all these different ways without overwhelming them with so much information that they are no longer processing and retaining it. David Blake, police practices/force response expert and law enforcement trainer, did some research on how to keep learner retention up and found information on trainees’ limited processing capabilities and how training simulators can play a part in increased learner retention.

He found a concept that was studied called Cognitive Load Theory. Cognitive Load Theory suggests that learners have a limited amount of mental resources that can be divided into three categories; intrinsic, extraneous, and germane loads. Blake explains, “In general, our instructional goal should be to manipulate intrinsic load into manageable pieces while decreasing extraneous load and increasing germane load for optimal learning”.

Which, in simpler terms, means that trainers should break the content into desirable difficulty pieces, minimize unnecessary information, and decreasing the number of training methods to help achieve long-term memory storage for trainees.

 

Learn and Retain

Blake goes on to explain that training simulators are a really useful way to implement this suggestion. Students can learn through watching their trainer go through a scenario, pausing at key points for them to ask questions and absorb the information. When they are ready students can then work through the scenarios on their own, still pausing at key points to absorb their simulated surroundings and answer the problem before continuing. Eventually, students will be able to run through the scenarios fully on their own with no pauses.

He concludes that using the simulator in this way is an effective method because, “The student’s full attentional resources are focused on the learning objective instead of those goals being lost in the dynamics of the scenario”.

To read through the whole study called Force Options Simulators: An Underutilized Training Tool by Dave Blake, click here!

 

Contact Us!

For more information on our science and research-based simulators and curriculum, contact a VirTra specialist today!

The topic of “active threat” and what is being done to prepare for a potential event is a highly relevant one in the law enforcement world. And, though an active threat may look different for them, the military must also prepare for such instances.

An active threat is identified as an event where a populated area is being targeted by one or more people with the intent to obtain a high number of casualties. When faced with an active threat, the attacker/attackers are often individuals whose beliefs do not align with their targets. Generally, firearms or explosives are the weapons utilized in these situations.

 

What Does an Active Threat Look Like for the Military?

Firearms are a frequently used method in green-on-blue attacks; however, explosives tend to be more common overseas within military active threat situations. There are a variety of ways that explosives can be utilized such as in mines and hidden bombs, launched grenades, vehicle-borne devices or even attached to an individual.

In a statistic provided by the Defense Department, “…improvised explosive devices account for 50 percent of all daily attacks…Of the three types of IEDs (roadside bombs, vehicle-born bombs and suicide bombs), roadside bombs are responsible for the most casualties.”

Despite the circumstance, the main goal is for military teams to eliminate the threat as quickly as possible and keep as many lives safe as possible, including their own.

 

How Can They Stay Prepared?

It is important for servicemembers to have access to real-world training for these situations. However, replicating such a high-stress situation, especially one with explosives, can seem challenging for teams to accomplish safely.

But realistic training for an active threat situation is made possible with the VirTra simulators. Servicemembers can train through real-world scenarios designed to help them practice situational awareness, threat neutralization, marksmanship and so much more in a fully immersive experience.

Scenarios are designed to put trainees under stress while also requiring them to use quick decision-making skills, creating well-trained military teams that are prepared for these situations.

 

Military Scenario Options

VirTra’s military training combat simulators provide access to multiple crucial training scenarios that are designed to help them stay prepared for active threats.

To learn more about the chosen defense simulation solution by the military, contact a VirTra specialist today!

 

Resources:

Researchers Help U.S. Military Thwart Explosive Threats (phys.org)

Are you testing or training your team? It seems like an easy question to answer.

Conceptually we all understand we need to educate our people before we test them. We want to provide students and officers with the material and skills they need to perform critical tasks, let them develop in those areas and then be tested.

However, do you fire up your simulator, place your students into a highly immersive and realistic environment, and run them through a scenario, finishing by telling them what they did right and what they did wrong? If you answered “Yes,” then you are only testing them. They showed up, you gave them a problem to solve, they solved it and then you evaluated them. By definition, that would be a test, not training.

 

Avoid Information Overload

There can be some training value in a test, but do not confuse testing and training. Seasoned trainers know that if you provide too much feedback on too many areas the information won’t stay with the student. I have seen this occur with many debriefs. Trainers throw out too much information for students to digest, but the assumption is that if it was covered in a debriefing, the student learned from it. How do you know they learned? How much of your feedback was integrated? Did you retest to find out?

Let me give you a real-world example. Pretend you showed up for College Algebra and I, as the instructor, hand you a test and ask you to complete it. You turn it in, and I grade your answers and make corrections to any wrong answers. I then tell you what you did right and what you did wrong and give you a grade. But were you trained? Were you ever trained to do the math topic first? Did you get to practice a similar equation to ensure you could transfer the concept to the test? Did I use a consistent method to ensure you have an understanding of the expectations? Were you provided a “worked problem” to help guide your actions? This kind of example has been applied to training methods as far back as the 1980s.

 

How we Learn

In 1988, Dr. John Sweller presented evidence that conventional problem-solving activities such as taking tests do not effectively develop a schema1. A schema is a file folder that our brain creates to identify, group and relate to things. We develop a schema when we do things like throw a football or draw a firearm. Developing schemas is how we learn. To do it, we have to have enough working memory available to move what we are working on in our head to our long-term memory. If the working memory is overburdened with problem solving (completing the test), then we cannot effectively move it to our long-term memory. This means we can’t effectively develop a schema, or learn from the experience if it is under too much pressure or load.

One way that working memory gets overloaded is when we are engaged in complex problem-solving. Dr. Sweller referred to it as cognitive load – when the cognitive load is too high, effective learning is compromised. If you give your students a problem and their working memory is filled up by trying to answer the problem, they have no reserve to move the lesson into long-term memory effectively.

However, Dr. Sweller’s work did not say you can’t learn from taking a test. He said it is not as effective as other methods such as a “worked problem.” The use of a “worked problem” is a method to help facilitate the development of a schema with a structured presentation of the problem and only partial amounts of the solution provided. This requires the student to “fill in the blanks” of what has not been provided. Providing a partial answer to the student allows for less of their working memory to be tied up in problem-solving. Think of it as a study guide to an exam.

 

The Value of a Training Plan

Even officers who have “had the class before” may need to knock the dust off or warm up their skills again. From the research, we know feedback is critical to better performances. An important aspect of feedback is that it is timely, which means it needs to be close enough to the behavior to be able to relate, such as telling your dog “bad dog” for chewing on your shoe 10 minutes ago has no meaning to the dog in the present moment in time. These same principles should apply to law enforcement training. If you wait to the end of the scenario to provide seven points of correction to debrief on, are you sure the points from the start actually stick? If you are not giving a test, why not pause the event at the first point of error and correct it? Letting an error compound as the event unfolds has little training value.

Instead, by developing a specifically written curriculum you will ensure you are effectively using any simulated event training. It must be more than just a list of what events you are going to run. Do you have a pre-test, post-test, evaluation rubric, performance objectives and scripted presentation materials? For example, VirTra’s V-VICTA™ program provides a step-by- step curriculum in a prescribed format to ensure that a training plan is carried out. There is nothing that says effective training requires a student to fail miserably. We can let them make an error, pause the event and discuss the current behavior. Afterward, we get them to dig in and truly understand the mistake. This makes debriefing a valuable part of the training and helps reinforce the schema required for learning to take place. Without effective debriefing as a crucial component of training, we are only testing the students. Few trainers will get to an opportunity to re-test and see if any transfer takes place.

So, ask yourself. Are you testing or training your team?

 

References

  1. Sweller, J. (1988). Cognitive Load During Problem Solving: Effects on Learning. Cognitive Science 12, 257-285.