ABSTRACT

Skill retention is an important consideration, especially when trained skills are needed after an extended period of time (Arthur, Bennett, Stanush, and McNelly, 1998; Arthur, Day, Bennett, McNelly, and Jordan, 1997). The retention or decay of skill is a particularly relevant and problematic concern in domains where training is followed by an extended period of nonuse. For example, reserve personnel in the military may receive formal training only once or twice a year with the expectation that they will only need a limited amount of refresher training to reacquire any skill that has been lost when they are called up for active duty (Wisher, Sabol, Hillel, and Kern, 1991). Likewise, disaster teams and first responders may work for years without evacuating residents from affected areas, managing evacuation routes, and rescuing and treating survivors of major disasters. Military reserves, first responders, and emergency management personnel are all vulnerable to skill decay given the extended intervals spanning the training and execution of specified skills (Arthur et al., 1998). Although these personnel may experience extended periods of nonuse, they are still expected to perform at high proficiency levels-with no retraining-should an emergency or disaster arise.