Interactive Multimedia Instruction: state-of-the-art approach to training the next generation of Ordnance Soldiers

By Theodore NelsonMarch 12, 2021

Students in the 91D Tactical Power Generation Specialist Course display interactive multimedia instruction (IMI) capabilities on a tablet, two laptops, a cell phone, and a Smart TV.
Students in the 91D Tactical Power Generation Specialist Course display interactive multimedia instruction (IMI) capabilities on a tablet, two laptops, a cell phone, and a Smart TV. (Photo Credit: Theodore Nelson) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEE, Va. - The Tactical Support Equipment Department (TSED), Power Generation Division, located at Fort Lee, Virginia, is an integral part of a premier learning institution that develops high-quality instruction for Soldiers attending Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at the U.S. Army Ordnance School (USAOS). TSED is adopting new teaching methods using interactive multimedia instruction (IMI) to meet the learner’s needs and improve the educational experience.

IMI adds highly interactive scenarios and assist students in using critical thinking and problem-solving techniques. It is not intended to replace Instructor-led facilitation but to provide supplemental training, reinforce existing processes and concepts, and aid in mastering the transfer of skills and knowledge from module to module throughout the Tactical Power Generation Specialist (91D) course.

Students are eager to learn and participate, as seen in their enthusiasm and interaction with current interactive multimedia instruction.

Sgt. 1st Class Brian Gaw, a TSED instructor, said, “Alternate training and delivery methods are essential to help students envision complex processes that can be extremely hazardous during operation. It also provides another means of tutelage if the actual equipment is unavailable or if the cost of maintaining the equipment is not cost-effective.”

Four levels of IMI are used during the 91D course:

1. Viewing, reacting, listening, and reviewing instructional presentations based on instructional cues

2. Moderate participation in conducting simulations and developing procedural knowledge and skills

3. Actual participation or virtual reality consisting of decision-making

4. Providing an immersive experience without experiencing real-world consequences

“Training must be more than rudimentary death by PowerPoint,” said Sgt. 1st Class Marcus Lewis, a TSED instructor. “We must ensure that the level of difficulty is challenging to students, more interactive, and compliments skill-based training.”

IMI focuses on three critical components: teaching (see it), demonstrating (try it), and applying (do it). IMI provides Soldiers the opportunity to manage their learning experience. For instance, learners can start, stop, and repeat blocks of instruction because they control the pace at which they learn.

The USAOS is expanding the use of IMI in its course content across 30 Ordnance specialties. The school has identified 4782 hours of lesson content for delivery in a blended learning or digital learning format which equates to approximately 42.23% of its portfolio - 28% of which are programmed for development over the next two years.

As IMI becomes more prevalent in Army institutions, students will participate in a learning environment that develops the procedural knowledge and skills necessary to maximize equipment readiness and deployability in the operational environment.

Students will carry the critical tasks learned at Fort Lee to their assigned units, where they will continue to build expertise under the watchful eye of senior technicians. According to Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Carter, TSED’s chief instructor, this form of facilitation offers our Soldiers the ability to train on strategic and developmental programs while enhancing their technical proficiencies in the virtual realm.

Interactive training modules allow instructors to discover and develop untapped potential coinciding with the new generation of Soldiers who will help shape the Ordnance Corps for generations to come. Interactive multimedia instruction is relative to the current mindset; we must applaud and support the warfighters as they are our future.