Did you know that GSB’s very own Robert White is an Education Officer in the Australian Army? When not supporting the Public Sector Management Program Rob is supporting a team at the Army Learning Production Center (ALPC). In the spirit of sharing Rob gave the GSB learning design team a behind-the-scenes opportunity to see how another team of educators approach the creation of technology-enhanced learning products. Highlights of our visit included a tour of Gallipoli Barracks, a process breakdown of eLearning product design and getting to participate in a simulated shoot on the Weapons Training Simulation System.
We had an opportunity to participate in a simulated rifle range exercise. The rifles were repurposed and equipped with lasers rather than bullets, but the activity was still designed to emulate the basic safety precautions and techniques needed out on the field. While not all members of the team are destined to be marksmen, it certainly gave us an inside glimpse at the level of attention to detail that the army takes at all times and helped us to further understand the processes that they go through in order to develop their educational material. It wasn’t all about the toys, however. Many people might not realise that the Australian Army is one of Australia’s largest educational organisations.
The Army Learning Production Centre is an impressive facility, with a finely tuned approach to the design and implementation of digital learning materials. Whilst there we got to see their dedicated bluescreen (greenscreens don’t work with soldiers in uniform) and audio recording rooms, used to create training videos. The vast majority of Army training is created by small internal teams scattered around the country so that any team can take on any project, anywhere and at any stage of development.
Well before the production stage however, a lot of thought goes into crafting the right pathway. Perhaps because there is so much riding on the success of these training materials, a lot of attention to detail goes into getting it right the first time. We were impressed to learn that how much careful research and analysis they did for each project and its target audience. This research uses established pedagogical theory, in order to inform the learning design process to deliver an effective learning product.
Army Learning Designers are challenged to create materials for a wide range of learning styles and abilities. Compulsory training products must cater to varying audiences, with learners having wide-ranging education experiences from basic high school to higher education institutions. Designers researched different learning styles based on the support request and scoping details using visual and auditory methods to summarise large policies and procedures into effective lessons for their customers.
On our visit, we saw how designers rise to this challenge by using visual and auditory mediums to chunk complex policy and procedure into short and effective educational bites for their customers.
This visit was an inspirational eye-opener for the team, and a fantastic day out. Thanks to Rob for organising it, and for sharing his passion with us all – hopefully we can reciprocate the activity soon.