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Barnes reports simulated mines during an underĀ­sea warfare training scenario inthesonar room aboard the ArlelghBurke-classguided-mlssile destroyer USSKiddflJS Navy)

Journal of the Australian Naval Institute

J6

ADAPTING NAVY TRAINING PROCESSES TO THE RAPID EVOLUTION OF COMMUNICATION St LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES - a Design Pattern Approach to Training Design




Design patterns articulate a direct link between underpinning theory, or corporate knowledge, and the practice they inform. Individual patterns could be developed or updated, as required, to reflect changes in technologies and approaches to training. They are sufficiently fine grained to allow for the adaption of existing training to new technologies.

Design patterns could also provide a systematic approach to capturing corporate knowledge in a format that can be readily stored in a knowledge bank and shared throughout the training organisation. They offer a means of facilitating organisational learning which could, in turn, drive policy development.

I aim here to evaluate an approach to training design based on Alexandrian design patterns, as a means of addressing the challenges for Navy training created by the rapid evolution of learning and communication technologies.

The requirement to design Navy training around rapidly evolving learning technologies

Learning requirements and expectations of trainees. The 18 year olds of today have never known a world without home computers, the internet, and mobile phones. Their social lives are heavily reliant on social networking sites. Many are dedicated gamers, spending hours each week immersed in virtual worlds. This generation has gone through school with laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. They are accustomed to learning with technology, and to the freedom and flexibility that it provides.6 This is the current generation of Navy trainees.

For this generation of learners, many of their critical learning conversations no longer take place in

6 (Bennett, Maton, & Kervin, 2008)

Journal of the Australian Naval Institute

the class, they now take place online, out of school hours.7 Others8 support this, pointing to research conducted by the National Schools Board Association (2007) which reported that students' online sharing in social network sites involves education and learning. 50% reported talking specifically about schoolwork.

It is known that military trainees, while on residential training courses, are creating online networks using Web 2.0 technologies. Given the high intensity of military training courses, and the emphasis placed on teamwork, it is improbable that trainees are not leveraging their online networks in support of their learning, and the sharing of learning resources.

It is important for Navy training to evolve in such a way that it will be suited to the learning styles, preferences, and expectations of the new generations of trainees. In order to provide opportunities for learning that are consistent with trainees' experiences outside of the Navy, a systematic, trainee-centred

  1. (Senge,2000)

  2. Greenhow, Robelia, and Hughes (2009)

transformation of pre-digital training methodologies needs to occur.

Potential inconsistencies in the use of learning technologies

The potential exists for significant clifferences to emerge across the Navy training organisation in the learning technologies being used and the ways in which they are being used. This is what Stone (2008) refers to as a patchwork model. Such models are characterised by an eclectic mix of hardware and software, with no unifying user interface.

As well as creating inefficiencies, patchwork models generate unnecessary extraneous cognitive load as trainees are subjected to different user interfaces, password prompts, and navigation hurdles,9 as they move between schools and courses. Extraneous cognitive load has the potential to negatively impact training outcomes and can, in extreme cases, prevent any learning occurring at all.10 Stone11 makes the point that the

  1. (Stone, 2008)

  2. (Sweller, Karyuga, & Slava, 2011)

  3. (2008)

Pre-digital Navy Classroom

Issue 153

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EVALUATE

DESIGN

CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

Figure 1. Defence Training Model
value of a simple to use, universal user interface cannot be overstated.

Building a bank of corporate knowledge

There is currently no Navy-wide systematic method for generating a bank of corporate knowledge regarding the use of learning technologies; for example, lessons learned, or advice about what works in different training scenarios. Without such a knowledge bank the capacity for organisational learning is limited, there is little on which to base policy, there is no baseline for continuous improvement, and the subsequent dialogue on the use of learning technologies between various parts of the Navy training organisation is limited.

Articulating learning technology requirements to external training providers. Without a significant body of corporate knowledge to guide and inform the use of learning technologies the Navy has no systematic means of articulating its requirements to training providers. Consequently, the potential exists for external training providers to determine the format and technical specifications of much of the technology-based training they produce for the Navy. This, in turn, would contribute to the realisation of the patchwork model described by Stone.

A robust policy on the use of learning technologies should provide contractors with;

  1. the underlying Navy training philosophy,

  2. delivery mode (instructor led, distance, etc.),

  3. specifications for technologies (hardware, software, simulator fidelity, etc.),

  4. specifications for media types,

  5. guidelines for use of media,




  1. course shell templates,

  2. style guides,

  3. navigation conventions,

  4. assessment requirements, and

  5. examples of similar applications of technology.

Current Navy training design practices

For the purpose of this discussion, the distinction must be made between training design and training development, as they are practiced in the Navy. Training development is the entire cyclical process of creating, implementing, and evaluating training. Training design is much narrower in scope and is limited to the second phase of the training development process.

Training development in the Navy

Training development in the Navy is carried out in accordance with the DTM, in figure 1, as described in Australian Defence Force Publication (ADFP) 7.0.2. The DTM is a close variant of the generic and widely used ADDIE model.12 ADDIEhas five phases: analyse, design, develop, implement, and evaluate, forming a continuous improvement loop. (SEE FIGURE 1).

12 (Morrison, 2010)

ADDIE is based on a rigorous upfront analysis process to determine the desired behavioural outcomes in terms of knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSA). The identified KSA are those required by a learner in order to perform specified tasks, in the workplace, at the required level. A gap analysis is performed to determine the learner's current levels of KSA relative to those required to perform the tasks in question. Based on that analysis, learning outcomes and assessment criteria are developed. The method of assessment is then determined, that is, the process by which a learner's competence can be observed and measured. The method of assessment then informs the training design.

Training Design

Training design is the process that occurs in the second phase of ADDIE. The training design determines what the training will look like. This is when the training strategies are selected. The object of these strategies is to ensure that training is conducted as effectively and efficiently as possible, and that the original training objectives are met. The design phase involves making decisions about what is to be done, when, where, by whom, and with what resources. It is during the design phase that the most appropriate instructional

Journal of the Australian Naval Institute

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ADAPTING NAVY TRAINING PROCESSES TO THE RAPID EVOLUTION OF COMMUNICATION St LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES - a Design Pattern Approach to Training Design




theory on which to base the training is determined.

ADFP7.0.2

The DTM provides very detailed information and guidelines on how to conduct the training analysis process. When it comes to the training design process, however, only the most general information and guidance are provided. Most of Chapter Three, which deals with the design phase, expands on the analysis process, or describes the factors to be considered when designing training.13

The relative weight given to the analysis process is to be expected. Analysis is relatively easy, if approached systematically. Analysis may, at times, be painstaking, but it is fundamentally deconstruction, which is a conceptually straightforward process. Training design, on the other hand, is construction, which is less straightforward. Training problems fall into the category of wicked problems. Wicked problems are the type of problems that will typically allow for a broad range of solutions. They are ill-formulated and involve many clients and decision makers with conflicting values.14 Training problems fit these criteria because there is usually no one, obvious way to solve a training problem, and there are usually a number of stakeholders with different opinions and agendas.

It is not surprising, therefore, that ADFP 7.0.2 Defence Training Model provides only very general information and guidance on training design. As Buchanan (1992) points out, design eludes reduction and remains a surprisingly flexible activity. In short, the ADDIE works very well for defining the problem, but not for developing a solution.

  1. (Defence, 2006)

  2. (Buchanan, 1992)

Gibbons and Rogers (2009) characterised ADDIE as an admixture of design processes with instructional theory. The result being a set of loosely specified, non-standard and highly variable design activities. The training outcomes achieved by this approach are highly variable across the organisation, and are highly dependent on the skills and knowledge of individuals within the training system.

How Navy training is actually designed

The requirement for new Navy training is almost invariably due to the introduction of new equipment or changed processes. These generally require the updating of curricula, not the design of new training. Existing courseware is often used as a template for new training. A relatively small range of training methodologies are continually reapplied, and Navy training tends to remain more-or-less static. As a result, the process prescribed by ADDIE is rarely applied in total.

ADDIE is cumbersome to use when applied to the development of new training. It has a high upfront analysis requirement, and it provides very little information or guidance on the actual design process. Historically, this has not been an issue, for the reasons outlined above. If training design is to keep pace with, and reflect the rapid evolution of learning and communication technologies, a more agile approach to training design is required.

The technology challenges. There are two separate but interrelated challenges for the Navy if it is to leverage rapidly developing learning and communications technologies to improve training safety, flexibility, cost, throughput, and outcomes. The first challenge is to review existing training to determine if technology can value-add and, if so, to retrospectively incorporate the technology. The second challenge is to systematically evaluate the use of technology in the design of all new training.

These challenges will be ongoing. There is nothing to suggest that

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Journal of the Australian Naval Institute

Issue 153

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the evolution of learning and communication technologies will not continue on its current trajectory. Bandwidth, storage capacity, and processing speed will continue to increase, Web 3.0 technologies will evolve, and costs will continue to come down. Technologies that are currently prohibitively expensive, such as some simulator technologies, will become increasingly affordable, allowing for their wider application. This evolution means that simply updating curricula, and recycling existing courseware and training methodologies, is no longer a viable approach to training design.

The Requirement to Supplement the existing Training Design process

The lack of specific detail and guidance provided by the design phase of ADDIE has rarely been an issue in the past. In the face of the challenges created by rapidly evolving technologies, however, additional detail and guidance are required. What is now needed is a means of populating the design phase of ADDIE with detailed guidance on how to design training to take best advantage of learning and communication technologies.

Any detailed guidance will need to address two interrelated issues that will both influence the final design -the choice of technology, and how to design the training around it. The first issue, which technology, if any, should be used, will be based on more than purely design considerations. From a purely design perspective, the best technology-based solution may not be cost-effective, for example. When deciding on the most appropriate technology-based training solution, the following types of questions will need to be addressed:

1. Do training staff have the skills

necessary to apply the technology?

  1. What are the initial and ongoing costs of the technology?

  2. What are the maintenance overheads associated with the technology?

  3. Is the technology scalable?

  4. Is the technology used elsewhere in the organisation?

  5. Does the technology integrate with other technology in use?

Guidance on these factors can take the form of a series of structured questions that the training developer should consider. This is consistent with the type of general guidance that is currently provided in the design phase oftheDTM.15

Guidance on how best to design training around the chosen technology should address factors including, but not limited to, the following:

  1. how the technology can be used to best support the underlying training philosophy;

  2. when, where, and how the technology will be used to support the training;

  3. how the technology enhanced training integrates with the rest of the training;

  4. how trainees will interact with the technology; and

  5. how the technology might be used for assessments (formative and summative).

It is this set of factors that constitutes the wicked design problem, and this is where the design phase of ADDIE needs to provide detailed guidance. Any detailed guidance provided should fulfil a number of criteria. First, it should be informed by research, or

15 (Defence, 2006)

by corporate experience. Second, it should be readily updatable, to reflect the evolution of technologies and training practices. Third, it should be modularised and sufficiently fineĀ­grained to allow its selective application to existing training.

Alexandrian Design Patterns

Design patterns are a concept conceived by Christopher Alexander in the 1970s, for application in architecture and town planning.16 A design pattern is a semi-structured description of an expert1 s method for solving a recurring design problem. They include a description of the problem itself, the context in which the method is applicable, but they do not include directives which bind the solution to unique circumstances.17

Design patterns relate to each other in position and utility to create a pattern language. Design problems can be deconstructed into sub-problems, and sub-problems further deconstructed into still smaller problems. These small problems form the basis of design patterns. This means that each design pattern provides a solution that is actually part of a bigger solution. Each design pattern, therefore, has to indicate what its relationship is to other patterns that

  1. Alexander et al, 1977)

  2. (Mor & Winters, 2007)

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