Guest post by David Palmer, National e-Learning Consultant for DoD/Intelligence, Blackboard Professional Education Division.
There is a fundamental change happening within the military when it comes to training and education. Not only are far more learners embracing technology as part of their training, but this shift is often driven by the learners in these programs, not by the teaching institutions themselves.
Think about today’s typical military learners, who have just entered the military out of high school: These learners are what we would like to call technology or digital “natives.” They are used to accessing content on a smartphone, constantly and in real time. They can leverage the power of videos, music, pictures, games, and all other means of information right in their hands. This always-on reality is how they expect their learning to take place as well. As a result of this dependence and comfort with technology, today’s military learning environment is much different from the learning space that their officer-level leaders experienced in years past.
Fortunately, many military training institutions are adopting the technology necessary to meet demand from their learners. These schools use technology like Blackboard as a powerful instrument of the learning process. This kind of technology is no longer just a means for teaching at a distance, but a tool that is the foundation from which these students learn – anytime, anyplace. The military leverages Blackboard as a means for constant communication, through a various form of technology integration, including:
- Mobile learning capabilities for on-the-go learning
- Asynchronous collaboration tools built directly into courses
- Analytic tools to report on the results and effectiveness of new learning programs
This shift creates a unique, flexible, cost effective learning environment that is the foundation for up-and-coming officers in today’s military. With recent cuts in budgets related to training and travel, this is just another reason for the military to recreate a classroom-based online learning environment through tools like Blackboard.
Have you seen any innovative uses of technology in today’s military learning? Tell us about it in the comments below or tell us on Twitter at @BbMilitaryGovt!