The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Training Group (NTG) meeting on Individual Training and Education Developments (IT&ED) was hosted by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Force Education and Training) and the Director, Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative in the Washington, D.C. area, 25–29 September 2016. The IT&ED meets semi-annually, and is hosted by volunteer nations. The U.S. hosted the Autumn 2016 meeting.
The mission of the IT&ED is to enhance training and education interoperability among Alliance and Partner nations. To achieve its mission, the IT&ED recommends solutions to specific problems (e.g., training gaps) to meet current and emerging education and training requirements. To facilitate interoperability, IT&ED deliverables include sharing standards, training material, handbooks, and best practices. For more information on the NATO IT&ED and the other international defense cooperatives ADL is involved in, visit our international collaboration page.
Leadership for the NATO IT&ED includes the NATO Chairperson, currently Mr. Paul Thurkettle (NATO Allied Command Transformation), and the national Co-Chairperson, currently held by the U.S. delegate Dr. Sae Schatz (Director, ADL Initiative).
Some of the highlights of the meeting include:
- Delegates from 19 nations attended the meeting along with representatives from the NATO School Oberammergau, the U.S. Naval Post Graduate School, and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE).
- Schatz presented the results of the 2016 bi-annual ADL Capabilities Survey, which was completed in August of this year.
- Thurkettle provided direction and guidance from the NATO Steering Group and the Executive Working Group—the executive bodies for the NATO Training Group.
- DiGiovanni (SES), U.S. Director of Force Training, met with the IT&ED members for a Senior Leader Forum at the Pentagon Auditorium. The forum was preceded by a walking tour of the Pentagon.
- The group took a tour of the Capitol building
- The group visited the U.S. ADL Initiative’s office and received presentations on the Experience API (xAPI) and the Virtual World Sandbox. The Office of Personnel Management and Defense Language National Security Office also provided presentations on U.S. capabilities.
The IT&ED derives its task mandates from the Executive Working Group. Some of the key mandates that the IT&ED worked on during the meeting include:
- Sharing e-Learning courseware. The intent of this task is to promote sharing of courses and best practices for content development. So far, 15 Nations have submitted more than 43 courses—to include a new Cyber security course co-created by Belgium and Switzerland. Belgium leads this task.
- Interoperable Qualification Frameworks. The Netherlands leads this task, working to enhance interoperability among the individual training, education, and operational communities by developing a Qualifications Framework that all NATO and Partner nations can adopt. Requirements for the Framework are derived from operations (ready state), from which training and education requirements (core job tasks) can be developed.
- Train the Trainers of eLearning Courses. Norway is leading the effort to develop a basic course for teachers that encompasses learning theories, didactics, pedagogy, motivation, teaching methods, and assessment.
- The IT&ED has developed two “tools” to help courseware developers. One is the ADL Handbook and the other is an ADL Glossary. The NATO School Oberammergau and the U.S. are leading these two tasks.
- The IT&ED is also responsible for developing standards such as the Standardization Agreement (STANAG) and Standardization Recommendation (STANREC) that support ADL collaboration. The STANREC will be more focused on next generation and emerging standards, such as xAPI. NATO Allied Command Transformation and the U.S. lead these standardization efforts.
In her welcome letter, Dr. Schatz stated, “International collaboration is a central tenet of the U.S. national defense strategy, and cooperation enhances the security of all our nations as well as stability around the world. The IT&ED’s efforts are critical to achieving these outcomes. Your work strengthens multi-national partnerships, helps prepare our respective defense institutions for integrated operations, and supports all of our military personnel by ensuring they have access to the highest-quality learning and development opportunities. In short, your work, in this task group, is essential.”
The members worked hard to achieve the mandate that Dr. Schatz laid before them, and enjoyed an eventful week! Several delegates mentioned that two items on their “bucket lists” were fulfilled with the tours of the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol. Most importantly, the delegates successfully advanced their task work and continued to strengthen their international relationships and collaboration.