The University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation & Training recently received a $2 million award from oilfield services company Schlumberger to analyze downhole tool operations and develop targeted learning and training programs.

The award is the largest to date of the newly established UCF Applied Research Institute at IST.

Led by Eileen Smith, director of the E2i Creative Studio at IST, and UCF professor Patricia Bockelman, the university team is creating a next-generation, simulation-based learning and training system that will allow the researchers and their corporate collaborator to assess and review worker performance using simulations.

Schlumberger is the world’s leading provider of technology for reservoir characterization, drilling, production and processing to the oil and gas industry. The company will use the new programs to develop and ensure the competencies of new and existing employees.

Smith has been researching human performance at UCF for more than 13 years.

“I am thrilled to be leading this effort, which builds on a strong foundation of understanding how to truly engage learners in their journey, with learner-focused curriculum, dynamic interactive learning experiences with appropriate technology, and analytics,” she said. “We intend to develop a system that will not only impart knowledge, but the understanding of how to apply that knowledge in any circumstance.”

Bockelman, who specializes in intelligent behaviors within technical environments, praised the academic-corporate collaboration.

“This project is an incredible example of how academic and industry collaborations promote innovation. We’ll be helping one of the world’s most influential companies improve human performance, which will allow UCF students to be on the cutting edge of globally distributed learning systems,” she said. ”By the nature of the scope and complexity of the project, we’ll be able to offer students a range of applied research experiences in a number of transdisciplinary contexts.”

The UCF Applied Research Institute was established to assist in securing large collaborative research projects and enhance the university’s interdisciplinary work and growing partnerships. Its goal is to help the university coordinate multidisciplinary responses to major projects and strengthen research across campus.