Previous research has supported the use of individual ability measures to predict learning efficiency and training effectiveness for a variety of task domains. This study sought to compare the predictive value of a traditional spatial ability survey used to forecast performance in a robot assisted response task conducted during a simulated Mars habitat emergency, with a relatively new measure of spatial orientation administered during autonomy assisted simulator training of novice Predator drone operators. Results suggest that while the injection of automation into training may not necessarily increase learning capacity, operator candidate pre-selection based on spatial orientation can present a substantial advantage in training efficiency while simultaneously minimizing cost in the form of assessment duration.
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