Col. John Thompson is the Future Learning Advisor to the Air Education and Training Command (AETC) Director of Plans, Programs, Requirements, and Assessments. He is responsible for facilitating innovation across AETC’s recruiting, training and education mission.
Today, I’m taking a trip to Edwards Air Force Base to watch a friend’s change of command. During the dead time in my travel, I often look for ways to be productive. One of the options that we don’t have is access to training through our mobile devices. Mobile learning is looking to change that by providing small (15 minutes or less) sections of courseware that can be taken anytime/anywhere. So, if you want to take your laws of armed conflict annual training from your lounge chair at home on a Saturday, you will be able to.
When hurricane Katrina hit, the military had challenges with personnel accountability. A lot of the missing personnel had access to their mobile devices which worked until the battery ran out in the device or the cell tower.
Imagine the day when accountability is available over your mobile device. Your mobile device is tracked so we send warnings to those in a certain geographic area. That day is here. The technology is available. What we need is an appropriate business case to invest in the technology.
When I look at my use of my personal mobile device, I realize that I don’t currently use it for learning but instead for reference. If I want to know where a movie is playing, how much money is in my bank account, or what readers are saying about this article, I use my mobile device. I would expect the predominate use of the mobile device to be communication and reference, not training.
Once we make mobile learning available, how do we decide which device to use? A couple of different options are being explored. Do we issue a mobile device as we access you into the military, or do we pay to have the courseware available in multiple formats so you can use your personal device? How do we handle Airmen that don’t have a personal device?
All these issues need to be decided before we have a large mobile learning system.
Join us over the coming weeks, as we explore AETC’s five focus areas in our advanced learning technology series.