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Navigating through the Naval Training System Transformation
Lieutenant-Navy Roger Korth, Deck Officer with Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Glace Bay uses a sextant to measure distance between two ships during a Resupply At Sea (RAS) scenario in the Atlantic Ocean during Exercise Bold Alligator on October 26th, 2017. Photo By: Corporal Trevor Matheson, 14 Wing Imaging GD08-2017-006 @DND-MDN Canada Copyright GD08-2017-0639-006 GD08-2017-0639-006
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Navigating through the Naval Training System Transformation 

Bluedrop Training & Simulation is recognized as one of the best companies for structured courseware design and production in the Canadian defence industry. Our LearninglogicsTM toolset and excellent knowledge of the Canadian training methodologies have been major differentiators for our company. Additionally, Bluedrop’s positioning as a SMB and its innovation capabilities have made us a partner of choice for large programs in Canada.

Bluedrop is well established for programs where there are strict requirements to adhere to structured development methodologies such as Canadian Forces Individual Training & Education System (CFITES). These processes are based on a systems approach to training, performance orientation in response to operational requirements, and optimum efficiency in terms of cost-effectiveness.

With the RCN Strategic Plan 2017-2022, the Navy is transforming almost every aspect of its training system.  Starting with HMCS HARRY DEWOLF, this new class of ship will come with new training packages in order to conduct initial cadre training (ICT). The RCN also aims to modernize all aspects of regular force & reservists training from Basic Military Training, trades training, combat training through to command and leadership training programs.

Naval Training System Transformation (NTST) Program is taking place and is engaging industry and other partners to execute a vision with comprehensive plan that is delivering the Navy with modernized training technologies, methods, and practices. While understanding the importance of Instructor led training in certain areas, blended delivery method including Computer Based Training (CBT), Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI), and practical training using advanced trainers are already being implemented in many training programs. 

New training solutions with advanced learning tools that feature greater detail and graphics that approach reality are currently being adopted. The intent is to introduce smaller training modules which sailors can access on-demand, to help for key trades training anywhere and on multiple devices. This flexibility would allow regular and reserve force members to progress in their career with less impact on combat readiness or family life.

For a SMB like Bluedrop, these are very exciting times, however, reconciling very structured training requirements of new platforms, such as the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships, and the rollout and expectations of the NTST program can be daunting and difficult to navigate and predict.  The key is to leverage the lessons learned of the AOPS training program while anticipating future individual training and platform training requirements and ensuring they align with the NTST’s intent.

Bluedrop’s strategy is to continually evolve its tools, design & production and delivery methods of training to provide the best alignment with the NTST going forward. 

Bluedrop has launched multiple development programs which will bring together more capabilities for our LearninglogicsTM LCMS and LMS toolset dedicated to the defence industry; these include improved distance learning capabilities, more engaging content better mobile delivery with data analytics capabilities to provide real-time feedback. We believe that through initiatives such as these, Bluedrop will provide relevant training anywhere and anytime, to the greatest extent possible. 

LearninglogicsTM suite is already xAPI compliant and is essential to leverage technological solutions, including simulators to properly measure trainee performance. The LCMS provides configuration management and asset management functionality that permits re-use of training material that can be reconfigured to optimize training assets across all elements. This powerful feature is designed to accept changes that will occur during the lifetime of a program. Our LMS provides the necessary tools to fit a training organization, like the RCN, that is focused on management and processes with proper performance measurements in place. This modern infrastructure enables flexible delivery of training of modern training methodologies. 

Bluedrop launched the Integration of Mission Performance Analytics in Courseware, Training and Simulation (IMPACTS). This new R&D project, in collaboration with academia, will integrate the simulation equipment within the training continuum by using an xAPI interface of a Learning Management System (LMS) to collect performance data, allowing analysis of mission performance. The resultant data capture of IMPACTS will facilitate the determination of performance trending and allow objective management of trainee and crew outcomes for adaptive training design.

We feel the most important development of the project is around how we make courseware more engaging for the new generation of learners. The learning landscape looks completely different today than it did five years ago and is evolving at even greater pace. The way learners are receiving and learn is a product of these new technologies. Individuals of all industries and schools are now taking their classroom on the road, such as airline lounges where they are taking advantage of spare time; in coffee shops where they watch a new video tutorial before they get into a meeting; at home where they review courses before a final exam. Such sights represent an ever-growing new generation of learners that consume content in a way that is typical to their smartphone usage patterns. They expect content to be short, personalized, engaging and more targeted to their learning goals.

These trends indicate the need for evolution of both content and technology in the learning space. There is a requirement for learning solution providers to work with organizations like the RCN to visualize the future of learning and formulate solutions that blend modern learning with traditional and evaluate the personalized experience to bring it in par with contemporary mobile applications and just-in-time learning methods. With this rapidly evolving landscape, we believe big changes are inevitable and we must act now to meet future expectations.

There are several technology-enabled learning trends that are having a significant impact on all learning ecosystems. Mobile learning is one example, this is an easy and convenient way to access learning content using any handheld device. Microlearning consists of one small, discreet learning objective per course or learning segment and can be delivered as content, videos, small games, quizzes, infographics, or a mix of all. 

The advantage of video is that it combines visual and auditory learning into a single online tool. This can make video one of the most engaging eLearning tools available, however, this passive media is not engaging and is difficult to track performance and efficacy.

Gamification is the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts to engage learners. Examples of gamification are scoring points for correct answers on quizzes, creating virtual badges, prizes, competitions, and similar activities in order to keep employees engaged and motivated. An advantage of gamification is that it is a different way to engage learners. It makes learning fun by using the characteristics of a game to get the content across. 

It must be understood however, that in the defence training domain, the introduction of new technologies and methodologies are not as straight forward as it may seem. Training must be very structured and must follow a very strict development methodology. In addition, for each new platform, Qualification Standards must be defined, and a rigorous Training Needs and Training Media Analysis must be conducted in a very early phase of a long (15-20 years) program. Technology obviously has a much shorter evolution cycle.

In the coming years, it will be challenging to navigate between the training requirements dictated by new platforms such as the Canadian Surface Combatant and the Naval Training System Transformation (NTST) intent. Bluedrop will focus its developments to meet both expectations so that both the training development toolset and the courseware development methodologies are adaptable and can easily evolve with new training methodology and technology changes.

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