Posted on Nov 23, 2013
MSG Operations Ncoic
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With the military and the world being taken over by technology, it seems like a lot of training that is better given in a group discussion, a classroom, or a face-to-face environment, have now been pushed over to online training. I believe that the majority of individuals (no matter what service) are just completing the training as a check the block rather than getting the education from it. Have any leaders in this forum gone back and randomly asked their soldiers/sailors/airmen/marines questions about what they should have learned from the online training? I have and was surprised to get the answers, "I don't know" or "I haven't received that training" even though I have a certificate with a name on it saying the training was accomplished. I'm not talking about hard questions. I'm talking about questions from the learning objectives or simple definition or acronym questions from the headers or titles, etc. What I like to do is inform the Soldier to redo the training, bring the new certificate back, and be prepared for more questions. If anyone has a better way of ensuring learning is taking place and not just "next slide, next slide, next slide, DONE", I would really appreciate another tool for my tool kit.
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CPT Sccc Student
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Unfortunately, digital training at the garrison unit is popular with Department of the Army and other top echelons because it is sanctioned, factual, easily and instantly evaluated,  instantly quantifiable, and excellent for proving a particular Soldier received training on said subject. on said date   Sounds like I am a fan but I am not.  Digital training is the worst medium to present mandatory training because it is not engaging, encourages integrity violations, and is difficult to prove actual proficiency is  achieved.  It is ideal for leaders concerned with CYA and leading by statistics.  Sadly, due to the amount and length of many of these online courses I have seen the NCO support channel create cheat sheets or advise junior leaders to circumvent or minimize the training value.  This is because these leaders understand the limited value and valuable time these online training certificates monopolize.  Tragically, Army Values are trampled in the process.  The digital medium is best reserved to the voluntary self development realm.  It should be left alone if the Army wants to inculcate Soldiers with priority messages, themes, and training.  
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MSG Operations Ncoic
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Sir, Thank you for your feedback. I agree that online training should be left for self development as something a Soldier wants to do to improve his/her individual knowledge base or reemphasize training that we do on a reoccurring basis. If it is used for mandatory training, we need to implement some form of check and balances to go along with the certificates at the end of each training. Especially for those where you read all slides, type in name on last slide, then print.
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1SG First Sergeant
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<p>SFC Ewing,</p><p>I personally am not a fan of the online training at all. I believe for college it is a personal choice between online and in the class room. But as for military training I think it is a useless system. I see&nbsp; few big issues with the online training. One of the things I see id that it is a way for some high ranking officer/NCO to come up with some added new training that is not really necessary and then add it to our already overwhelmed schedule. I know people thing by making it online means you have all the time in the world to get it done at your own pace; but we both know that is not true. It gets put out by the CSM on Friday at 1130 that some new online training requirement is out and no one goes home until it is complete. So now everyone spends a few hours franticly pressing next hoping that the 150 guys in your company can all get this training done on the&nbsp;2 or 3 open computers that are available. Another issue I have with all this online training is you have a handful of required training sent down from big Army we must all do. Then corps adds to it, then your BDE adds to it, then your BN adds to it then the company. By the time it is all said and down you have 50 different online certs to complete. You said that the Soldiers hit the next button to " check the block" I believe the entire system is to check the block. If I make you take risk assessment training online and print a cert then you get in an accident in a military vehicle I can blame you. You were trained I have proof. Or you could get my Soldiers out from behind the keyboards and let me as an NCO do my job and give them real training and guidance. </p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>I know this all sounded like a rant but I am just very against the military online check the block training. It starts with all these annual certs then goes to SSD, ALC common Core skillport classes. </p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>All I am saying is let me train my Soldiers at home station, in the filed , at the school house. Everywhere. That is my job trainer of Soldiers not the job of some crappy online cert.</p>
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CPT Laurie H.
CPT Laurie H.
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Spot on.
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MSG Operations Ncoic
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SSG Schmidt, thanks for your feedback. I have felt your pain on numerous occasions about the last minute training that must be accomplished before anyone can go home. Just as you mentioned, no one gets any training out of it and a lot of time is wasted just to check the block. This goes against the phrase...."We train to standard, not to time".
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CW2 Joseph Evans
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Much of the on-line training is a check the block. Here are the powerpoint slides, sign off on the last sheet.<br>The ones I liked were the ones where you get to the end and it says insert your name and print. Get the block checked for the entire plt with 2 dozen back spaces and only the house mouse needs to be there.<br>As a leader, if you are taking the time to ask them questions after their "training", you have time to conduct and lead their training, or better yet, be present to supervise the trainer. Be at the sessions, interact during the training, ask questions at the training, bring the PLT together for the training. Ask situational so that you know they understood the intent of the training and not just the text of the training.<br>That being said, mandatory training very rarely takes. The Soldier has to want to learn if they are going to remember anything from it. It goes back to the basics, as human beings and Americans, curiosity and discovery are at the root of our being, but we need to know why what we are about to learn is important to us. The leader also has to believe in the importance of the training and convey that to his troops. The second a PSG or PL utters the words "mandatory training" or "quarterly requirements", he has indicated to the Soldiers his belief in the value of the subject matter.<br><br>
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MSG Operations Ncoic
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Thanks for the feedback Chief. I have seen situations like you mentioned about the "...2 dozen back spaces..." Fortunately for me, I had a fellow SFC PSG in a previous unit that saw eye to eye with me and we nip that quickly. What we did was related the importance of the training to the individual soldiers and how they can use it or store it in their tool bags. Some got it, but there were still those that do not want to embrace the training and feel it's a waste of time and not related to their individual assignments or them personally.

With it seeming like online training is here to stay, additional training popping up every year, and with the Army downsizing, I don't see too much change in the near future.

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