Taking a 68 year old, 29 nation organization and making it dynamic while also following strict procedures and a rigid infrastructure, is not an easily achievable task. NATO’s home in North America, Allied Command Transformation, was created to accomplish this task. This Command leads NATO into the future with transformative ideas across all domains.
Part of the transformation agenda is shifting mind-sets on how and when to share information. Traditionally, military organizations operate on a need to know basis. This allows militaries to protect sensitive or classified information. Though we will not lose that footing, in the information age we need to compliment that security principle with a need to share perspective, when possible. In the area of education and training, one of the key requirements is to investigate education and training technologies and enhance the NATO online learning capability. The Command has successfully transformed online.
“When we first went to our NATO schools with the concept of supporting them with online learning, the interest was limited. However, the developing security situation in Afghanistan where additional forces were arriving with very limited preparation for the NATO mission, brought an urgent operational requirement. This requirement resulted in hours of online training, over 40,000 course completions and now ongoing packages for the RESOLUTE SUPPORT mission,” said Paul Thurkettle, the NATO e-Learning Manager. “I can’t imagine a NATO without online learning and the demand will only increase as the NATO and partner audience increases in size and geographic dispersal.
NATO’s online learning now reaches audiences in over 42 countries. New technologies like immersive learning and augmented reality are revolutionizing learning methods and tactics, enabling learners to be fully engaged in the most effective way. NATO’s Allied Command Transformation’s e-Learning team has been awarded numerous awards for contributions to developing courses which meet NATO requirements while remaining student-centric, enjoyable and relevant through online platforms, mobile devices and computer-based instruction, including:
2015 Federal Government Five Star Award
2016 Federal Government Innovation Award
2016 Federal Government Pioneer Award
2016 e-Learning Magazine 3rd Place in Public Sector Top 100 Companies
2017 e-Learning Magazine selectee in Public Sector Top 100 Companies
The Joint Force Trainer is responsible for leading this effort and the establishment of the Education & Training Technologies' focus team has led to new innovative ideas. Today, the Education, Training and Technology Section under Joint Force Trainer continues to look at innovative ideas to improve NATO’s capability and reach their widely dispersed audiences, while working closely with NATO as well as national education and training facilities, industry and academia.