Advanced Distributed Learning: A Global Perspective
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Coalition military forces have become the norm, and to be ready for multinational operations, militaries must prepare using relevant training, education, and exercises. Many nations and security coalitions use advanced distributed learning technologies to, at least partially, meet this demand. Towards that end, this paper examines the intersection of multinational military training and education and innovations in learning science and technology, specifically those involving distributed learning. To write this piece, authors from 12 nations/NATO collaborated. Content contributors serve as military officers or civil servants in their defense ministries, and each works in the technology-enabled learning domain. The paper begins by highlighting national strategies in support of multinational collaboration. It then discusses collaborative efforts involving technology-based learning. Next, it describes a survey of the authors’ organizations, which examined their priorities, challenges, and uses of distributed learning. Finally, the paper closes with our survey findings and recommended next steps for consideration by coalition military training and education stakeholders. Some key findings from the survey include the following: Use of distributed learning is expanding across the board. On average across surveyed organizations, enhancing the instructional quality (pedagogy/andragogy) of distributed learning ranks as the number-one focus area. Mobile learning and, possibly, game-based distributed learning may see an uptake in use, but there are unmet needs in the areas of learning analytics and, correspondingly, xAPI and learner/teacher performance dashboards. Finally, international partnerships—specifically in the area of distributed learning—yield tangible benefits.