Distance learning can enhance training during the duty-day
January 19, 2010
On Oct. 1 of this fiscal year, many NCO's expecting to attend the Advance Leaders Common Core (ALC), formerly called Basic Noncommissioned Officers Course (BNCOC),Phase 1, received notification that the course would be moved online, said Master Sgt. Tony Eubanks, operations officer at the Combined Arms Training Center (CATC) in Vilseck, Germany. The former common core training was conducted via video tele-training before. Eubanks said units may assist Soldiers by allowing them time during the duty-day to complete the online training at one of 35 classrooms in 12 locations throughout Europe.
The Army's Distributed Learning System allows a Soldier to receive institutional training at home-station. Here in Europe, classrooms are equipped with 16 multimedia computer workstations, internet access, video tele-training with two-way audio and video, multimedia projectors and screens. Walk-in students are welcome.
"Distance Learning facilities are available to anyone who wants to use them, as long as there is an open room," said Eubanks. Students can take military courses and courses for college credit hours."
On September 15, 2007, the Chief of Staff of the Army authorized the development of a Structured Self-Development Program (SSD) for NCOs, which requires Soldiers to complete up to 80 hours of distributed learning instruction.
"The objective of Distributed Learning (DL)is to bring training to Soldiers anywhere at any time, including at home station or deployed locations. Soldiers are authorized to use the facilities during duty hours," said Helena D'Amario, chief of the Distributed Learning Branch at the 7th Army Combined Arms Training Center (7th Army CATC) in Vilseck, Germany. "About 900 courses have been converted to online DL courses."
According to the Army's 2009 posture statement, recent changes to the Noncommissioned Officer Education System (NCOES) provide NCOs flexibility to attend and complete training at more convenient times and locations. It also allows NCOs to complete SSD while deployed.
On the Web site ArmyStudyGuide.com, a Soldier stationed in Fort Eustis, Va. said the self-paced training was worthwhile. There were five modules to complete, with established benchmarks to ensure the Soldiers meet the deadline for completion.
Eubanks said Soldiers should complete the training in about 90 days to ensure he or she is eligible for the next level of training and promotion.
According to an article in Infantry Magazine, dated Sept. 1, 2008, the Army realized the Soldiers completing missions in Iraq and Afghanistan come back more highly skilled, which expedited a transformation of the NCOES.
"It's up to the Soldier to complete the training," said Eubanks. "I just want them to know we have the facilities available."
For more information on scheduling time at a DL facility in Europe contact Helena D'Amario at the 7th Army CATC at DSN 476-2378.