A recent video produced by the United States Army features soldiers taking Arabic lessons on smart phones, fixing a truck with information on a tablet PC, and engaging in peer-to-peer learning via video conference.  These aren’t dreams of a distant future for military learning: the Army plans to integrate these new technologies into its educational regimen in just a few short years. The US Army’s Learning Concept for 2015, the official plan for these new innovations, details the Army’s need to leverage new technologies in its training and continuous learning plans.

There are many reasons why the Army believes mobile and digital learning technologies will be vital in the future, including:

  • Challenging and inspiring computer-literate soldiers “who have grown up in a digital world”
  • Enhancing peer-to-peer and social interaction in education
  • Ensuring that relevant learning is “not location-dependent,” but can instead be “accessed at the point of need”
  • Creating opportunities for career-long, continuous learning beyond mandatory training

The Army therefore views digital and mobile devices not as luxuries, but necessities, for 21st-century soldiers operating in today’s fast-paced environment.  As the Learning Concept states: “Transition to the learning model in ALC 2015 must begin immediately to provide Soldiers and leaders with more relevant, tailored, and engaging learning experiences through a careerlong continuum of learning that is not location-dependent, but accessed at the point of need. The Army must challenge and inspire learners who have grown up in a digital world, are adept at using technology, demand relevance, and require feedback and support from peers and mentors. The Army must also challenge and meet the needs of seasoned Army professionals who have experienced repeated deployments and bring a wealth of experience to the learning system.”

What does Blackboard think about this new learning plan?  Not only do we believe in mobile training and learning, but we also have experience working with military organizations to provide critical solutions in training and learning.  When the Army successfully implements its new model by 2015, we believe soldiers will be empowered to obtain a highly relevant education- no matter where in they may be in the world.

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