2012 Advanced Distributed Learning Working Group Meeting: Introducing Learning Solutions for Today’s Mobile World

Editors Note: In order to inform our readers about some of the existing and new technologies that are available for mobile and e-based learning, today we feature a brief report from the ISN’s Training and ADL Competence Center.

From 6-8 November 2012, the Partnership for Peace Consortium’s Advanced Distributed Learning Working Group (ADL WG) staged its annual meeting in Vienna, Austria. The event – hosted by the Austrian National Defence Academy and organized by the International Relations and Security Network (ISN) and Partnership for Peace Consortium (PfPC) – primarily focused on mobile learning opportunities, although it also concentrated on other IT-based learning technologies, methods, tools and future standards. What follows is a brief overview of some of the key issues and developments covered during the meeting.

November 6:  Introducing Tools to Support Mobile Learning

ADL WG meetings traditionally begin by introducing new tools and methods that are ready for immediate use. This year, 35 ADL professionals learnt about the specific challenges of mobile learning and received  hands-on training for a range of tools. They included:


Advanced Distributed Learning Working Group Meeting in Georgia

St George's monument in Tbilisi, Georgia. Photo: Reto Schilliger

From 1-3 November 2011, the members of the Partnership for Peace Consortium’s ADL Working Group met for their annual conference, this time in Tbilisi, Georgia. The event, kindly hosted by the Georgian Ministry of Defense and organized in close cooperation with the ISN and the PfP Consortium, focused on the introduction of new and updated open-source tools, discussion of current members’ activities as well as the launch of new ADL projects.

November 1st: Workshops

The meeting started with a full day of workshops providing theoretical background as well as hands-on training on updated and new tools. The ISN Training and ADL Competence Center (TACC) prepared and delivered three workshops on the following topics:


LNOTA – Media Self-Censorship to Fight Terrorism?

Could limited media coverage help fighting terrorism?

9/11 and media

What Al-Qaeda achieved on 9/11 was arguably not only the most extreme and effective terrorist attack ever carried out, but also a highly effective media spectacle with unprecedented return on investment. The loss of human life aside, Al-Qaeda was known all over the world within hours, at the cost of eleven airline tickets and some box-cutters. Indeed, Al-Qaeda, like other terrorist organizations, could count on the readiness of the world media to broadcast their acts to the world live on television and the internet, as well as in print.


CDT Training in Crete: Close to 50 participants trained on how to produce online courseware

From April 12 to 14 a total of 48 professionals participated in the Cooperative Development Team Training at the NATO Maritime Interdiction Operational Training Center (NMIOTC) in Crete. An intense three-day program provided them with an insight into the theories and processes of producing ADL courses as well as with first-hand practical experience.

Participants from 12 countries. 4th from left: Commodore Adrianos Poulos, commandant of the hosting NMIOTC. Photo: NMIOTC

About ADL and e-learning

Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) is e-learning based on the SCORM standard. This standard, established and maintained by ADL Labs in the US on the basis of a US DoD initiative, is well established in NATO and also represents the production standard of the PfP Consortium’s ADL Working Group. Advanced Distributed Learning to this standard supports interoperability of content accross compliant NATO and non-NATO platforms as well as flexibility when it comes to combining content for different audiences and learning scenarios.

About the CDT Training

Based on the proven collaboration in establishing ADL capability within NATO and PfPC countries, the event was organized and conducted as a joint project of NATO SACT, US Joint Forces Command, the International Relations and Security Network (ISN) from Switzerland and the US DoD ADL Initiative. The NATO Maritime Interdiction Operational Training Center (NMIOTC), located at Souda Bay near Chania, Crete, hosted the event and provided the infrastructure for lectures and practical sessions.


E-Learning: Ways Forward

Future learning for defense and security professionals, photo: ISN

Almost anyone involved in large-scale education and training activities has accepted e-Learning as an established method and technology. What started with early experiments by financially powerful large enterprises and armed forces almost twenty years ago, has become available and affordable to almost any organization today.

Open-source solutions for learning management systems and the authoring of content, as well as low-cost hosted solutions,  allow for the minimizing of technology investments to about zero. And based on the experiences of early adopters, the dos and dont’s, as well as successful e-Learning scenarios are widely known.

As a result, e-Learning has found its way into most educational organizations, including many committed to education in the defense and security policy sector. Everything fine and dandy then? Well, almost …

Contrary to basic language and computer training for the broader market (of professionals in general), there is hardly any off-the-shelf online-content available for more specific educational topics related to defense and security. As a result, content in this area is usually produced by educational institutes from scratch, requiring close cooperation between subject matter experts, instructional designers and multimedia specialists. It also requires a lot of time and money.

Despite this, there is more and more content being developed in support of peace and stability worldwide, often supported by funding from various sources. Although most of this content serves its key audience and goals, the return-on-investment for production, as well as the overall effect of educational campaigns might often be improved significantly: The key lies in expanding the target audience.