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Weaving learning technologies into defence training

This post first appeared on the LINE website on March 7th 2011

Keith Downes, Director & Defence Lead at LINE, illustrates the importance of embedding a combination of technologies to achieve effective learning in defence.

LINE’s involvement in the defence sector started in 2003 as the outcomes of the Defence Training Review (DTR) were taking effect. Principally, for LINE at least, in our then small part of Defence Training, this was about the use of e-learning to deliver training: quicker, better, faster. LINE was an e-learning provider creating discrete e-learning programmes (usually measured in hours of learning time) delivered via the Defence Learning Portal (DLP) and managed on a Learning Management System (LMS) hosted on DLP.

In the DTR context LINE provided e-learning and technology centric learning solutions to help defence training be more cost efficient; more for less. It was mandated through a strange metric that 20% of 80% of training had to be e-learning.

From this starting point, eight years ago, our presence in developing and delivering Defence training has grown. I’d like to think LINE has been a leader in moving from just e-learning to a greater level of blend – weaving technology into the fabric of defence learning. It’s certainly true today that LINE’s capability has changed. We are still a technology centric company but now more an end to end learning services provider and while still an important part of what we offer, e-learning is now a much smaller part of the overall mix.

As part of the Training Advisory Role, DTR P2 contract let to KPMG, we took on a more strategic role within the MOD delivering the LINE HealthCheck consulting model. This model is used across business and organisations where we sit down with them and work out where they are and where they want to be in the training and technology cycle. Then we construct a plan that allows them to achieve this. We visited a number of defence colleges and schools delivering the HealthCheck at a senior level, feeding back our findings into the overall report delivered to DTR P2 IPT.

More recently LINE has been instrumental in producing mobile learning, particularly on the Apple iPhone and iPad, for the Army. Our Fire Control Orders programme has been particularly well publicised since we launched it at ITEC in May last year and, as a result, we’ve received an unprecedented number of enquiries from all over the world. We’ve also converted Cultural Awareness (one of our most successful programmes) into a mobile ready version on the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad.

There’s no doubt we are seeing a change in mood within the MOD. They appear to be moving away from big training systems and there is an imperative to look at technology as a way of making training more affordable. Post SDSR and in all probability under the revised status of DTR it will be more prevalent than ever. Embedding technology is at least a part, if not a major one, in delivering more affordable and effective Defence training in the future.