Training Fundamentals: Task Loading

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It’s unlawful to drive a automotive and use a handheld system in lots of areas of the world for security causes. Whereas offering definitive proof is problematic, it's possible that official statistics understate the issue. Clearly, driving a automotive whereas concurrently making an attempt to replace your social-media feed or ship a textual content leaves you much less targeted on the street. This is because of a phenomenon often known as activity loading, and it’s a problem in scuba diving as nicely.

What's activity loading?

Initially summarized in 1988 by psychologist John Sweller of the College of New South Wales, Australia, cognitive load concept proposed that “because of greater cognitive load, a stimulus is harder to concentrate to.”

A ‘activity load’ signifies the diploma of problem you expertise when performing a process. ‘Activity loading’ describes the buildup of duties which might be essential to carry out an operation. This loading of a number of duties — and the next distraction and stress it causes — is widespread in terms of scuba diving.

Noticing incidences of process loading in diving is simpler for knowledgeable divers, technical divers and instructors. Nevertheless, it’s typically much less obvious once you’re initially of your diving journey. The ‘operation’ within the context of diving is, fairly merely, efficiently and safely making the dive. The ‘activity loading’ might improve because of the buildup of any variety of duties – above or under the floor — that require a diver to divert their consideration from the matter at hand. That would embrace something from a more moderen diver making an attempt to speak their fuel consumption to the information whereas concurrently sustaining management mid-water, to a technical diver switching stage bottles, to an teacher trying to take care of management of a gaggle of a number of inexperienced divers.

What issues can extreme process loading trigger?

If a diver should cope with too many duties concurrently (and even only one process that they wrestle with) stress and confusion may result. The diver might then enter a cycle of perceptual narrowing — focusing solely on making an attempt to deal with one perceived drawback or process — to the detriment of their general state of affairs within the water. This, at greatest, might result in a diver giving themselves or their buddies a scare within the water. For instance, a task-loaded diver might briefly lose management of buoyancy or turn out to be separated from their buddy or group. Or, at worst, a diving accident might happen.

Virtually each facet of a dive consists of some duties from the second you arrive on the boat or the dive store. In consequence, some activity loading is inevitable. Even to gear up, buddy examine and swim whereas concurrently preserving tabs in your fuel consumption, course and depth requires an consciousness that novice divers might wrestle with. Because of this, instructors introduce activity loading very regularly throughout preliminary diver coaching.

Activity loading and new divers

On the introductory degree of dive coaching, activity loading is minimal. Instructors should be sure that divers can, for instance, full easy duties. These can embrace executing a protected and managed descent whereas additionally equalizing their ears and sustaining buddy contact. As a brand new diver, typically doing two duties concurrently can show difficult.

It isn't unusual on these opening dives to see a novice struggling to regulate buoyancy when requested to pause, verify and sign to the trainer how a lot remaining fuel they've. The scholar might have affordable buoyancy in isolation, however including the extra process of pausing, hovering, studying and deciphering the figures on their gauge, and remembering the sign to reply with, may be sufficient to unsettle a diver at this stage of their studying.

Process loading and superior divers

Shifting on to a complicated open-water degree or equal, instructors anticipate divers to grasp these preliminary expertise. Moreover, the trainer will introduce one other activity to the equation, comparable to elevated duty for navigation and compass use or noting the hazards and factors of curiosity on a wreck on a dive slate whereas additionally finishing the core duties of the open-water diver, comparable to sustaining good buoyancy and buddy contact.

At rescue-diver degree the envelope is pushed additional with much more purposeful activity loading. Rescue divers should deal not solely with points in their very own sphere, but in addition with different divers’ points as properly. Somebody within the water could also be unresponsive, in misery, or lacking from the dive, and the rescue diver should shortly and successfully undertake a search sample.

Process loading escalates with every degree of coaching. An teacher could also be liable for a number of duties and the security of a number of divers all on one dive. A technical diver should execute their plan with absolute precision whereas intently monitoring time and making required fuel modifications. A cave diver could also be in a claustrophobic overhead surroundings utilizing reels, strains and lights.

Deliberate vs. unplanned duties

Some duties are deliberate — an teacher is aware of she should monitor the depth and luxury of all divers of their group. Nonetheless, emergencies or unplanned duties can happen, requiring the trainer or dive information to carry out underneath difficult circumstances, resembling a diver experiencing misery, vertigo or separation from the dive chief.

Though he has made an in depth plan, a technical diver might have an gear malfunction or by chance exceed his deliberate depth, which can require modifications to the plan on-the-fly, making fuel modifications or, within the occasion of kit malfunctions, carry out a fuel shut down.

Some instructors even separate the duties into tiers when offering coaching — core, foundational, essential and supplementary expertise and competencies that a diver might follow and grasp as their coaching develops.

How are you going to keep away from process loading?

  • Plan the dive conservatively. As an alternative of deciding on a number of duties or aims and trying to shoehorn all of them into the dive plan, think about the general image. Are you able to conduct the dive safely, together with all these duties and contemplating any contingencies or potential security/emergency points? Visualize the way you may cope with points and the way your gear is configured. In the event you can’t make the dive safely, or it's borderline on security grounds, change your goal or don’t make the dive. Typically it’s simply your day to skip the dive.
  • Know your gear and test-dive it in less-demanding circumstances earlier than making that massive dive you’ve been constructing as much as. Utilizing your gear must be instinctive. A brand new dive circumstance, resembling your first night time dive, is just not the place to attempt unfamiliar dive gear.
  • Speak with the individuals you’ll be diving with. Perceive their gear and evaluation it in a thorough pre-dive check. Talk about how they share air within the occasion of an emergency – do they ‘donate’ on the sign? Or anticipate you to safe it from them? How is it clipped in? How does the purge button on their regulator work? Know earlier than getting into the water — it can scale back process loading and stress within the occasion you even have to make use of the process.
  • Take what you want. Typically, much less is extra. It’s widespread to see an enthusiastic diver on the water’s edge, clipping on one other torch, reel, GoPro digital camera with the ever present selfie-stick, further compasses, pointing sticks, strobes, shakers and perhaps a number of slates and a back-up wrist mounted compass. This will depart the diver wanting just like the stereotypical “Christmas tree.” Bringing plenty of pointless gear might have probably already agitated and careworn the diver earlier than he even enters the water for a easy leisure dive. Contemplate what you want for the dive, bearing in mind the setting and circumstances described in the briefing. If the dive seems to be difficult, depart handheld gear like selfie-sticks and cameras on the boat.
  • In the event you progress to technical diving or solo diving, you should carry back-up assets. These can embrace computer systems, reels and SMBs, fuel cylinders, masks and line cutters or a knife. However further gear additionally creates the chance for errors in less-than-competent arms. Be snug together with your gear and know the place it’s situated and how you can use it.
  • Plan the dive; dive the plan. Do your pre-dive checks completely. Be in the proper frame of mind getting into the water and keep on plan. When you've got agreed to a most depth, route and run-time, attempt to keep it as a lot as attainable. Think about the dive like a flowchart of choice making. Don’t go off on an unplanned tangent until there are distinctive circumstances or an emergency.

It's crucial, no matter your degree of diving, to truthfully acknowledge your strengths and weak spot. Each diver can study one thing new and enhance. Make trustworthy assessments of your talents and search suggestions from extra skilled divers. Keep inside your coaching and luxury zone to keep away from extreme activity loading and the potential issues that include it.

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