Crisis management training Pandora+

Pandora+ offers a fully-featured multimedia environment which provides information to trainees in a variety of forms including audio, video, maps, texts, email, graphics and text.

Once a scenario has been loaded into Pandora+(uploaded in an Excel Spreadsheet format), it starts by providing the trainees with an initial crisis / problem to be solved. This could be presented in a number of ways such documents to read, or videos to watch etc. 

As time passes, the Pandora+ system will reveal a series of unfolding events to one or more of the trainees (as decided by the trainer). In an actual crisis situation Gold Commanders from different areas e.g. police, fire, health will be expected to work together as a team and therefore need to be trained as a team. The group will be required to make periodic decisions about actions to be taken which then affect how the scenario is played out, resulting in many possible outcomes.

There are other attributes of the Crisis Management Training.

Example crisis situations

Major crisis events that are a risk to human health and life may also impact on the supply of essential services. They typically require a multi-agency response and could include one of more of the following:

  • Policing and terrorism events – fire or explosions.
  • With Natural events – extreme weather, earthquake, landslides, storms, wind, heat-wave etc.
  • Transport events – sea, air, train or vehicle crashes.
  • Service failures – electrical power plant failure, water supply failure, etc.
  • Health crises – pandemics, epidemics, containment conditions, disease (including animal disease), toxic chemical release impacting the environment etc.
  • Technology failures – breakdown of automated control systems, central services.

Skills development

The training will help teams to develop their:

  • Collaborative skills in formulating strategic responses across a number of organisations and events.
  • Strategic thinking skills in considering the implications of their decisions and the effects on other services.
  • Develop the responsive skills of trainees in formulating alternative strategies and remediating actions in the event of the failure of a strategic response
  • Negotiation skills.
  • Decision-making capability.
  • Flexibility and capability under pressure.
  • Ability to recognise assumptions and challenge each other's.
  • Ability to think of innovative solutions to problems when pre-prepared plans are no longer appropriate.

From the trainer's perspective, they can determine the strategic planning ability, decision-making capability, flexibility and capability under pressure of the trainees.

Trainee stress and emotions

When a crisis occurs, human behaviour and preparedness is critical so training needs to be as realistic as possible! Research tells us that during a crisis, a person's emotions can cause a wide range of effects on attention, perception and the cognitive processes involved in decision making, problem-solving and learning. Evidence suggests that individuals under stress and anxiety often fail to adopt rational-choices. They often devote insufficient time to the consideration of available alternatives and / or consider alternatives in a disorganised manner, potentially make decisions before considering all the potential information available to them. It is therefore vital that trainees experience emotions as close to a real crisis as possible and Pandora+ has therefore been designed to create a realistic environment in a number of ways, for example it:

  • Selects, models and monitors the relevant human factors / psychological variables that have been shown to have an influence on decision making under stress e.g. Personality traits, leadership style, background experience, self-efficacy, stress & anxiety.
  • Models the trainee's actual behaviour/status with respect to the selected variables
  • Personalises training stimuli according to trainee model.
  • Monitors trainees' emotional states and manipulates them during the training and attempts to engage the trainees on an emotional level.

Trainee interface

The trainee interface includes audio, video, texts, email, graphics and text. Specialist facilities, such as maps can be available for either group or individual use. The trainer and the trainees can choose to communicate with one or more trainees e.g. they can send private communications to each other if they wish or communicate with the entire group or a sub-group of trainees. Group information can be provided through multi-screen display as show in the example training room.

The trainee behaviour and emotional state is captured through:

  • a pre-event information questionnaire;
  • direct biometric sensor inputs e.g. heart rate monitor;
  • self-reporting by trainees;
  • trainer inputs;
  • use of affective media to induce changes to those behavioural and emotional states.

Trainees are required to communicate to discuss possible solutions, at times they will be asked to make group decisions about how to proceed and a timer can be set to force decisions within specific time limits if required. Trainees will periodically be asked to report on their stress levels as part of the overall management of their stress and emotional state.

Trainer interface

There are number of facilities available to the trainer and these can be summarised as follows:

  • Ability to upload a scenario as a structured, timeline-based, sequence of events which can be adapted on the fly by the trainer.
  • Ability to maintain configurable scenario models, knowledge, multimedia asset and data bases to enable the system to build a wide range of crisis scenarios, to use as training events for those involved in crisis management at all levels
  • The trainer is provided with a full control system for the training event, including the ability to change events, add new events, expand and compress timelines i.e. speed up or slow down the rate at which the scenario is playing out, provide direct interventions into the scenario, and increase or decrease the emotional stress applied to individual trainees
  • The ability to provide real-time operational inputs demonstrating strategic decision outcomes to trainees, asking them to dynamically revise strategic plans and decisions
  • Providing virtual characters, in any form from textual through to full animation, including replacements for missing trainees, to ensure the full scenario is enacted. These virtual characters can be configured with specific characteristics such as experience, expertise, communication skills, emotional type however, the trainer also has the capacity to take on the role of a missing person and provide their input dynamically by taking control of a simulated character. Examples of virtual characters that could be simulated are:Ability to maintain a detailed log of the training event, to permit a rerun of some or all events, modelling of individual trainee performance, and capture of relevant and useful events as exemplars for future training
    • Missing trainees e.g. Police, Fire, Hospital, Local Authorities.
    • Locon: staff at operational level reporting to the trainees
    • Hicon: people at higher level to whom the trainees report
    • External experts who may provide advice / information on a particular situation