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Small Team Training Delivery Service: Mastery in Times of Austerity
Small Team Training Delivery Service: Mastery in Times of Austerity
Small Team Training Delivery Service: Mastery in Times of Austerity
Small Team Training Delivery Service: Mastery in Times of Austerity
Small Team Training Delivery Service: Mastery in Times of Austerity
Small Team Training Delivery Service: Mastery in Times of Austerity
Small Team Training Delivery Service: Mastery in Times of Austerity
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Small Team Training Delivery Service: Mastery in Times of Austerity

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Computer-based instruction – a proven approach – must adapt to fulfill the growing needs of military and interagency training. This future vision requires innovative toolsets to help bridge the gap …

Computer-based instruction – a proven approach – must adapt to fulfill the growing needs of military and interagency training. This future vision requires innovative toolsets to help bridge the gap between academic, individual instruction and large-scale, mission rehearsals. Given the constrained training budgets of today and tomorrow, one must innovate to enable team training.

This paper provides analysis for the existing military training structure and offers insights into how it can be adapted to be lightweight, agile, and more cost efficient at training small teams in preparation for existing large scale exercises. This approach fosters mastery by providing the training audience autonomy of time and team – enabling small team training at a time and place of their choosing. Our innovation’s simplicity has demonstrated the powerful capability of a distributed and immersive application. The paper closes with lessons learned gathered from exercises conducted between 2010 through the present.

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  • 1. 2013 MODSIM World Conference and Expo Small Team Training Delivery Service: Mastery in Times of Austerity Ms. Nancy Johnson and Mr. Mark Friedman Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) 100 CTC Drive Johnstown, PA 15904 {johnsonn, friedmam} @ctc.com Lt Col (ret) Gerald R. Gendron, Jr. SimIS, Inc. 200 High Street, #305 Portsmouth, VA 23704 gerald.gendron@simisinc.com ABSTRACT Computer-based instruction – a proven approach – must adapt to fulfill the growing needs of military and interagency training. This future vision requires innovative toolsets to help bridge the gap between academic, individual instruction and large-scale, mission rehearsals. Given the constrained training budgets of today and tomorrow, one must innovate to enable team training. This paper provides analysis for the existing military training structure and offers insights into how it can be adapted to be lightweight, agile, and more cost efficient at training small teams in preparation for existing large scale exercises. This approach fosters mastery by providing the training audience autonomy of time and team – enabling small team training at a time and place of their choosing. Our innovation’s simplicity has demonstrated the powerful capability of a distributed and immersive application. The paper closes with lessons learned gathered from exercises conducted between 2010 through the present.
  • 2. 2013 MODSIM World Conference and Expo Introduction “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...” --Charles Dickens These words were penned in the year 1859 by the eminent English author, Charles Dickens. They come from the novel A Tale of Two Cities which is set in London and Paris during the time of the French Revolution. The events of that era have once again captivated people’s imagination with the 2012 cinema release of Les Misérables. While many people are familiar with Dickens’ first dozen words, the next two dozen words are eerily applicable today as they were over 150 years ago, “it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity…” Small groups – long-standing institutional mores – revolutionary approaches –– motivation – austerity These qualities are as appropriate today to describe the defense-industrial complex as they were in labeling the bleak, yet hopeful times, at the turn of the 18th century. Joint training is facing a number of challenges: ● ● ● ● reduced budgets for operations and maintenance of legacy systems a generation of up and coming trainees hungering for methods beyond in-class and live instruction increasing pressures to cooperate and prioritize with unified action partners to leverage solutions across a spectrum of military, interagency, and international countries, bodies and agencies increased pressure to motivate and engage military learners, who themselves are more challenging than ever to motivate This paper will provide a summary background of the evolution of computer-based training over the last two decades, highlighting both the enhancements and challenges along that path. Having an idea of the gaps to fulfill, the paper will then consider partnerships of military, interagency, and international partners and their view of a future vision to bridge the gap between academic, individual instruction and large-scale, mission rehearsals. Finally the paper considers the human dimension by portraying the benefits to mission performance based on motivated training audiences, using data and lessons collected since 2010 based on new distributed training technologies.
  • 3. 2013 MODSIM World Conference and Expo Computer-based Training to Distributed Learning Distance learning has provided many advantages to DoD and academia over the past twenty years, but to continue to yield positive efficiencies, a future vision needs to come to fruition. It is not enough today, to simply use the reason “to save money” in order to place a course online instead of conducting a face-to-face course. The audiences are more savvy, they have grown up never knowing a period of time before a DVD and WiFi, and are at home perusing Second Life as they are the first, or real life. They have never heard of, must less seen, a user manual for a software package, and thus, the traditional ISD-created online course is simply not going to engage or motivate the student of 2013 in the way required to continue toward training real probem-solving skills. The known training gap which exists between academic, individual instruction and the learning which takes place during large, collective activity-driven rehearsals -- must be bridged. “Gamers have logged thousands of hours rapidly analyzing new situations, interacting with people they don’t know, and learning to solve problems quickly and independently. DoD must recognize the fundamental shift in the analytical and strategic problem-solving skills and techniques of the next generation of soldiers, and adapt its training and motivational methodologies accordingly.” (IDA, July 2006) Team training needs to be molded, developed and morphed into this bridge as the solution which will connect these relatively close entities. Adapting Learning to Leverage the Technologies The existing method to prepare a team in DoD has remained the same for more than a decade. Millennium Challenge 2002 (MC02) was one of the first Joint collective exercises which received national attention - and let the general public know just how the training process worked. What was and maybe still is, a rigid schedule of preparation by individuals learning some basic tasks on their own, prior to getting together as a collective (i.e. thousands at the same time) to rehearse a very complex rehearsal which itself follows a pre-written guidebook (like the script to a 1,500 actor play). One problem, with this use case, is that many of the individuals do not accomplish their preparatory training prior to the collective training. The other critical issue to address is that many of the participants might learn what to do from a single position in the system, and yet be assigned to perform duties in a totally different position during the rehearsal. Of course, both of these weaknesses can be addressed if the individuals were able to spend even a little amount of time learning in a small-team environment, where they could practice one position in the morning, and another position in the afternoon -- thereby expanding their ability to be agile and flexible when they are assigned in the larger rehearsal. What we would like the reader to consider, is how this can be adapted to be lightweight, agile, and more cost efficient at training small teams in preparation for existing large scale exercises. Mastery through Autonomy We have explained the many advances in and advantages of distributed learning technologies as they have evolved over the last two decades. But there are still gaps that remain as opportunities to be leveraged - namely, consideration of the learning processes in relation to the people
  • 4. 2013 MODSIM World Conference and Expo participating in the training events. A particularly important area is that of team training methodologies. A key dimension in designing and evaluating distributed learning systems in the future will be the human dimension. Among the most widely regarded methods to evaluating the human element of training is the Kirkpatrick Four Level Evaluation Model. It was first published in the Journal of American Society of Training Directors as a series of articles in 1959 [1]. Figure 1 shows the basic structure of the Kirkpatrick model [2]. The essential elements of the Kirkpatrick Model have endured for over 50 years and include four hierarchical levels: reactions, learning, behavior, and results. Traditionally, the model has been used to explain the increasing sophistication - and hence increasing value - as training strives to move students towards higher and higher levels of the model. Beginning with “reaction” (did you enjoy the training?), most training unfortunately only reaches “learning” (did you score well on the exam?). This falls short of the benefits found in the top two levels which can have more dramatic impacts on growing individuals and increasing business performance. Figure 1: Kirkpatrick Four Level Evaluation Model. Showing increased value to organizations. Nickols (2011) takes the Kirkpatrick a step further by adding a methodology to use the four levels as a validation approach to training development. Figure 2 shows the same four levels, but notice the downward pointing arrow along the left. The basic intent is to determine the desired business results (level 4) and translate those into behaviors the team members might attain (level 3) to support those business results. This has a direct correlation in the bottom two levels in terms of designing the training. How might this approach be of assistance in designing distributed training for large teams? How does this relate to changing behaviors and attitudes?
  • 5. 2013 MODSIM World Conference and Expo Figure 2: Kirkpatrick Model Used for Validation. Using traditional model in reverse to design training. Daniel Pink, acclaimed author and student of human motivation, provides a simple yet powerful answer to these questions. His synthesis of the psychological literature presented in his book Drive complements the idea surrounding Kirkpatrick’s third level. Pink wished to learn what truly motivated people to do great things, learn new skills, and create new ideas. He summed it up in a pithy, Twitter-sized summary of his entire book, “Carrots & sticks are so last century. Drive says for 21st century work, we need to upgrade to autonomy, mastery & purpose” (Pink, 2009, p. 203). In less space than a 140 character tweet, he captures the essence of his book and provides us a great clue about motivation as it applies to learning. In fact, he dedicates an entire appendix to parents and educators noting, “there’s a mismatch between what science knows and schools do” (p. 174). What he means by this is that the psychological literature is abundant in how to increase motivation and learning, yet training facilities are stuck in outmoded training methods. How might his three elements of autonomy, mastery and purpose aid the joint training community? Pink points to countless scholarly works that shows the old-fashioned (but all too often found) carrot-and-stick approach used in work, home, and education and training. Carrots and sticks are geared towards If-Then mentalities. This is found in training by if I memorize this material, then I will pass the test and move on. Will the student recall the material? Perhaps. Will it change their behavior? Likely not. What works, according to Pink (2009), is a move towards creative yet challenging tasks and exercises to engage the students. This in turn leads to higher internalization of the training material. Using his three elements, Pink offers these three questions for trainers: ● Am I offering students any autonomy over how and when to do this work? ● Does this assignment promote mastery by offering a novel, engaging task (as opposed to rote reformulation of something already covered in class)?
  • 6. 2013 MODSIM World Conference and Expo ● Do my students understand the purpose of this assignment? that is, can they see how doing this additional activity at home contributes to the larger enterprise in which the class is engaged (p. 175) It is hoped that the reader (especially trainers) can see the value inherent in providing the training audience with a degree of freedom to pursue mastery. It has been witnessed in special operations qualifying courses and at-home music lessons - allow the student a distributed, mobile training device and see how often and how diligently they work at the problem in order to figure it out to master it. Not because it was part of class time, but because they had the autonomy to satisfy their urge for mastery. The connections between Pink’s work and Kirkpatrick’s model are clear get beyond level 2 learning to allow autonomy, hence driving mastery and a change in behavior. Ultimately, performance increases. Technology and distributed training approaches provide the training community with the means to seize this opportunity. Lessons Learned For at least the last two years, Joint Knowledge Online has hosted and distributed dozens of small team exercises via its Small Group Scenario Trainer (SGST) toolset. From one hour refresher exercises, where as few as 2-5 terminal learning objectives were designed to be practiced and learned -- all the way up to a multi-day exercise for twenty staff to practice a larger number of skills which they had learned during the previous weeks, thereby utilizing the distributed tool as their culminating exercise. In each of these example cases though, the students were able to actively demonstrate their knowledge and skills of these learning objectives, not through multiple choice or memorization, but by actively doing the tasks which clearly mimic the real-life tasks which their jobs potentially could entail. This is an excellent example of utilizing Kirkpatrick’s third level to stimulate behavioral change. Preparing for Humanitarian Assistance projects or Disaster Relief efforts are just a few of the scenarios which active and reserve duty military are likely to need to be skilled in, and to date, there has not existed an efficient way to train these teams together in preparation of performing these life-saving duties. Leveraging the anywhere in distance learning, SGST enables teams to train together from anywhere, and if only half a team can participate, then possibly the other half might train afterward - with actual humans playing the roles necessary to recreate the intended environment to enable the training objectives to be exercised. Summary Today’s austere times call for revolutionary and innovative approaches to surmount the challenges we face in joint training. Some of the greatest innovations in military approaches have come during times of fiscal challenge or uncertain security environments – such as the U2 spy plane. Distributed learning systems are technically mature and sociological acceptable – the time is now to support larger exercises with agile and cost effective approaches. This saves materiel, personnel, and schedule costs. Dickens closed his book The Tale of Two Cities with these words, “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known." What may this foretell of the legacy we – joint training professionals –
  • 7. 2013 MODSIM World Conference and Expo have the opportunity and responsibility to leave for the upcoming generation? It will be a far, far better thing that we do by resolving to open-mindedly consider those proven alternatives like computer-based training. Such a basic approach can bloom into widely-used and effective systems to transform joint training while having impacts on the behaviors and performance of training audiences well into 2020. As Dr. Curtis Bonk stated in 2005 "Certain skills gained and practiced by gamers in massive multiplayer online gaming environments closely parallel those required by a military transforming itself to operating under the concept of network centric warfare. The technologies and practice methodologies employed in multiplayer games also hold great potential to provide appropriate network centric warfare training environments." DoD Training must continue to adapt and evolve, borrowing the best from other disciplines such as gaming, MOOC’s, and other innovations, so that team training can truly achieve autonomy of place and time. Only then will more of the “ilities” be achieved [4] and warfighters prepared the best that they can be before being tasked in real action. REFERENCES: [1] Clark, D. (n.d.). “Kirkpatrick's Four Level Evaluation Model”. Performance, learning, leadership, & knowledge. Retrieved from http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/isd/kirkpatrick.html. [2] Nickols, F. (2011, 21 April). “Leveraging the Kirkpatrick Model”. TJ Blogs. Retrieved from http://www.trainingjournal.com/blog/articles-blogs-leveraging-the-kirkpatrick-model/. [3] Pink, D. (2009). Drive. New York, NY: Riverhead Books. [4] IDA "MS&G, When Worlds Collide: A Primer for Potential", July 2006, pg 155)

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