U.S. Air Force Air Education and Training Command: Improving Global Training

Providing basic and advanced training for every member of the Air Force, AETC required a highly scalable, flexible and interoperable solution.

The U.S. Air Force Air Education and Training Command (AETC) delivers 1,400 different courses to 100,000 Air Force personnel each year. Providing basic and advanced military training for every member of the Air Force, AETC required a highly scalable, flexible and interoperable solution to manage learning, knowledge and related talent management processes throughout the world.

Air Force learning programs and resources are very complex and time consuming. The average length of a course in the technical training arena is more than 13 weeks. Courses frequently entail multiple instructors using a variety of equipment. With more than 100 military occupations receiving technical training, scheduling training facilities can be extremely difficult, as AETC uses a number of training locations, including traditional classrooms, computer labs, aircraft, medical facilities, simulators, fire pads, field locations configured for special exercise training and launch facilities. Coordinating logistics and learning sessions worldwide, AETC required a solution that could help manage all of these moving parts and ensure that its employees were receiving the training they needed, when they needed it.

AETC initially deployed Plateau’s learning management system (LMS) to manage instructor qualification requirements, documenting individual instructor skills and availability across the AETC spectrum. This solution tracks more than 1,400 types of equipment for AETC, including traditional audio/video aids, computer workstations, occupation-specific clothing, combat aircraft, vehicles, firefighting tools, medical equipment and scientific measurement equipment. The system also handles the volume of diverse training content for AETC, from multimedia air traffic control courses to top-secret intelligence training.

Based on its experience with developing and rapidly implementing a scalable technical training solution for managing all of its worldwide training resources, AETC expanded its vision, creating a strategic plan for its global implementation. With a talent management platform managing its first Advanced Distributed Learning initiative, AETC launched an initiative to provide “anytime, anywhere” Web-based distance learning to hundreds of thousands of military personnel around the world.

Through the Advanced Distributed Learning initiative, the Air Force is creating an integrated architecture that cuts across the entire USAF organization, saving millions of dollars in travel and time and improving combat readiness. The Air Force can track the learning cycle of all service members as they advance through their careers.

The supporting solution also allows personnel to map out training thresholds for certain positions and alerts them automatically through e-mail when they require retraining.
AETC’s Advanced Distance Learning program gives service members the ability to participate in learning and training activities at their own pace or receive training while on duty in mission-critical situations. In an environment where training often can’t wait for temporary duty or be bound by great distances, AETC is using its talent management solution to create a scalable program that meets all of its objectives.

Using this talent management platform, AETC constructed one of the largest e-learning initiatives ever undertaken, managing both instructor-led and distance learning for several hundred thousand personnel each year. Scalability is essential to the success of this global talent management initiative: An enterprise talent management solution with a learning management system at its core must be able to manage learning for an unlimited number of students in different locations and time zones, all within a secure framework.

Based on its current success, AETC is currently planning to create a “knowledge readiness” initiative that will capture and deliver every piece of knowledge a commander needs to assess whether a person or unit is ready to go to war. This program will allow AETC to utilize its technical training program more efficiently, while delivering “just-in-time” training to personnel who are unable to leave their stations. Such a distance learning initiative will enhance the Air Force’s readiness and operational capabilities while reducing the amount of temporary duty time required of its personnel.