The global environment is changing. Political upheaval, climate change and the complexity of technological advances increase both the difficulty, and the tempo, of military operations, driving a need for modernization of training. Training systems that are adaptive, resilient, and scalable, provide critical flexibility in efficiently and effectively preparing the armed forces for today’s challenges.
Data is the foundation of future operations in all battlespace domains. Data refers to the production and sharing of increasing volumes of information from a myriad of diverse collection sources. The value of data resides in the assessment of these sources and their intent (friendly or hostile) and reliability, along with the requirement to record, share, analyze, and act on, or ignore it.
Militaries are increasingly collecting, integrating, and networking data. The U.S. Joint All Domain Command and Control initiative (JADC2) is an example of how this network approach to warfare facilitates command engagement throughout the decision cycle and across theatres of operations. In current and future systems, all units can share the same level of situational awareness; decisions can be seamlessly executed at all echelons.
Interoperability is another driver of change, as warfare becomes increasingly digitized. An entire Task Force can share the same picture, in real-time. Sharing both operational and maintenance data from a myriad of sensors enables optimized operations and maintenance under the full range of required missions and priorities.
Technology is not the only change dictating how training is best delivered. Aligning training methods with the expectations of the new generation of military personnel is key. As recruiting becomes more challenging - in an increasingly tight and competitive talent market - militaries need to adjust their training activities to be more creative and relevant, offering recruits opportunities and experiences comparable to that which civilian trade schools, universities, and the job market, provide.
Optimizing technology and easing the challenges faced by military forces does not require a complex new strategy.
Training innovation involves the application of new ideas, devices, and/or methodologies to existing training systems and routines. Given the challenges facing modern militaries, instructional designers are rethinking how they train and the tools required. Many of the world’s militaries have recently released innovation or modernization strategies aimed at addressing the issues, representing four main lines of effort:
- Increasing the use of LVC tools and embracing synthetic environments to improve both individual and collective training
- Implementation of digital frameworks to house content, enable collaboration and streamline training management
- Adoption of Data Driven Decision Making (DDDM) processes and learning analytics to improve evaluation and drive continuous improvement
- Leveraging technology to create learner-centric approaches to training
As technology, data, networks, and integration continue to shape the way militaries operate, training systems and approaches must match requirements with the learning needs of the organization, and of today’s personnel. Providing the right training, at the right time to the right individual – effectively and efficiently - calls for a dedicated multidisciplinary team.
To help reconcile increasing requirements with ever-constrained resources, armed forces must establish partnerships with industry that span the continuum of the learning process. This ‘Learning Journey’ collaboration will jointly define problem sets, examine solutions and options, integrate and manage the chosen solution, evaluate outcomes, and adjust processes to deliver value and capability at the point and time of need. Industry is eager to bring forth innovation centered on the science of learning and harness Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR) capabilities.
Success in integrating instructional design and technological solutions will rely on tight partnerships, aligned visions, and a mutual commitment to excellence to assure victory on the battlefields of tomorrow.