Three innovative computer programs for training and testing personnel at Kennedy Space Center have been developed under the aegis of the Web Interactive Training (WIT) project. The WIT project exploits the capabilities afforded by the Internet and by state-of-the-art multimedia data-presentation techniques. The World Wide Web is used to deliver training from server computers to client desktop computers on demand. Training can involve multimedia data of various types (text, audio, graphics, and animated video images). Training can be interactive, enabling trainees to tailor lessons to their individual needs; a trainee can select a lesson or segment any time, anywhere, and can repeat a segment as many times as necessary. Interactivity can also be exploited to provide for testing and recording of a trainee's progress.

One of the innovative programs provides a simulation of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9000 certification process. By use of standard Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) pages and forms, the program creates an interactive system for ISO 9000 training. The client-side requirements for using the system are minimal; any popular Web-browser software can be used.

Each time the simulation is run, the events are slightly different. That is to say, the HTML pages are not static like ordinary Web pages; they are generated dynamically to create a more realistic representation of the simulated process.

The code on the server is highly object-oriented. The system can be expanded and new functionality can be added without disrupting the system. The user-interface part of the program is separate from the application part of the program; because of this architecture, new user interfaces can be created without modification of the main application code. Similarly, rules of a simulation can be changed without affecting the user interface.

Another of the innovative programs generates tests that are integral parts of a training course on techniques of nondestructive evaluation. The course is presented to each trainee in modules. Each module includes (1) a video overview of a technique in action, (2) text and graphics that explain the theory and application, (3) an interactive simulation of an application of the technique (generated by the program described in the next paragraph), and (4) a quiz generated by random selection of questions from a data base of questions. Immediately after submitting answers, the trainee is presented with the test score, a brief explanation of the correct answers, and a link to the place in the course where the topic was covered. It is more difficult for a student to cheat because the program generates a different version of the quiz for each student and makes it impossible for any given student to take the same version of the quiz twice.

Still another innovative program is the one that generates the interactive simulations in the training modules. Each simulation is designed to give practice in one of a number of nondestructive testing processes: visual inspection, liquid-penetrant testing, magnetic-particle testing, eddy-current testing, leak testing, ultrasonic testing, or radiography. The simulations incorporate learning by example, repetition, and positive feedback. For example, in a simulation of the use of computed x-ray tomography of a solid cylinder, the student moves a scanner head along the cylinder while observing the scan on a simulated computer screen. Upon identifying a potential discontinuity, the trainee clicks on it; if the identification is correct, the simulation is immediately reset with the discontinuity scattered randomly to one or more different position(s). The trainee can repeat the simulation as many times as needed.

The advanced technology features of the WIT project contributed to the project winning a Gold Award in the 1997 multimedia and Internet Training Awards.

This work was done by Roger Wright, Thomas Brubaker, Angela Smibert, David Metcalf, and Tracy Bierman formerly of I-NET, Inc., for Kennedy Space Center. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line at  under the Information Sciences category.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to

the Technology Programs and Commercialization Office
Kennedy Space Center
(407) 867-6373

or for information regarding commercialization of this technology contact:

Merrimac Interactive Media Corporation
200 Willard, Suite 1A
Coca, FL 32922
telephone: (407) 638-4118.

Refer to KSC-11962.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the January, 2000 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

Read more articles from the archives here.