Implementing Simulators to Facilitate Learning for Initial Entry Soldiers

Implementing Simulators to Facilitate Learning for Initial Entry Soldiers

Sonya Bland-Williams
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4237-9.ch019
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Much like any organization’s training program, military training schools train in technical skills, values, and common tasks. In this chapter’s project management endeavor, implementing simulator training to facilitate learning is described in general terms from an Army context. This case narrative provides a general awareness of the aspects of project management that contribute to typical project risks, cost, and quality of technology-based learning projects within a military training environment. The case is presented using fictional characters as an approach to capture real-world challenges while remaining consistent with the Department of Defense’s Principles of Information policy. In carrying out the policy, the case discloses only information that does not adversely affect national security or threaten the safety or privacy of the men and women of the Department of Defense.
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Organization Background

The United States Department of Defense (DOD) is the federal agency, which provides the military forces needed to deter war and protect the security of the country. The Department consists of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. A more commonly used term for the Department of Defense is Armed Forces.

The President of the United States holds the top-level position as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces with oversight of day-to-day operations performed by a presidentially appointed, Senate confirmed position known as the Secretary of Defense. Under the direction of the President, the Secretary of Defense exercises authority and direction over the military service-members and civilian personnel who carry-out the functions of the Armed Forces. The main functions of the Armed Forces are to:

  • 1.

    Support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

  • 2.

    Ensure, by timely and effective military action, the security of the United States, its possessions, and areas vital to its interest.

  • 3.

    Uphold and advance the national policies and interests of the United States (Department of Defense Directive, 2010).

As a department within the DOD, one of the missions of the Department of the Army is to train military service-members and civilians who carry out the functions of the Armed Forces. The Army relies on project management processes and systems to successfully implement personnel training. These project management processes (initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing) are fully integrated with the fundamental instructional design process also known as ADDIE (Molenda, 2003). The ADDIE process involves five phases: analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation. The combined result is the Army Learning Policy and Systems (Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), 2011). This system for managing training development uses a systems approach to training (SAT) based on the ADDIE process (See Figure 1). SAT involves formal processes of evaluating and improving management activities that are carried out at the individual project level in order to implement training products. It also involves a clear set of benchmarks. The Army Learning Policy and Systems follows a systematic, iterative approach to making group and self-development training decisions for the total organization. Sometimes simply called training development, the management process determines the scope of a project and the training support resources required to produce, distribute, implement, and evaluate those products. Each educational/training project completed using the training development process undergoes additional, but well integrated, acquisition processes that also determine projected operating budgets. It is important to note that the scope of this case omits discussion of those additional acquisition processes for new training systems, as well as detailed discussion of budget approval processes.

Figure 1.

The army’s systems approach to training (SAT) model also known as the ADDIE process. Adapted from Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) (2011). Army Learning Policy and Systems (TRADOC Regulation 350-70). Retrieved from


Within the five project management processes—initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing—the funding or acquisition process fits within the initiating stage of project management for most military settings. Once a funding request is initiated, a decision is made regarding procurement. Developing training for military service-members is a complex, multi-year process, which involves management of instructional design processes, acquisition procedures, and communication channels within leader chain-of-commands. In addition, military regulations and policy give oversight and must be followed.

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