Training adaptive teams

Jamie C. Gorman, Nancy Cooke, Polemnia Amazeen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


Objective: We report an experiment in which three training approaches are compared with the goal of training adaptive teams. Background: Cross-training is an established method in which team members are trained with the goal of building shared knowledge. Perturbation training is a new method in which team interactions are constrained to provide new coordination experiences during task acquisition. These two approaches, and a more traditional procedural approach, are compared. Method: Assigned to three training conditions were 26 teams. Teams flew nine simulated uninhabited air vehicle missions; three were critical tests of the teams ability to adapt to novel situations. Team performance, response time to novel events, and shared knowledge were measured. Results: Perturbation-trained teams significantly outperformed teams in the other conditions in two out of three critical test missions. Cross-training resulted in significant increases in shared teamwork knowledge and highest mean performance in one critical test. Procedural training led to the least adaptive teams. Conclusion: Perturbation training allows teams to match coordination variability during training to demands for coordination variability during posttraining performance. Although cross-training has adaptive benefits, it is suggested that process-oriented approaches, such as perturbation training, can lead to more adaptive teams. Application: Perturbation training is amenable to simulation-based training, where perturbations provide interaction experiences that teams can transfer to novel, real-world situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-307
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Factors
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Uninhabited Air Vehicle
  • adaptive teams
  • coordination
  • coordination variability
  • cross-training
  • interaction experience
  • novel situations
  • perturbation training
  • practice condition variability
  • procedural training
  • process-oriented training
  • shared knowledge
  • task acquisition
  • team cognition
  • team coordination
  • team training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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