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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:

  • “ILIAS SCORM Editor, Version 4.2”
  • “Objectives and Test Items”
  • “Introduction to the Multimedia Slideshow Tool”

All the workshops were received with great interest by the participants. The tools mentioned above have been developed by the ISN to help support joint content production by ADL Working Group organizations. With its new interactive image feature and additional question types for self-assessments, Version 4.2 of the SCORM Editor is a significant improvement on earlier versions. It allows for the creation of rich interactive content far beyond what is sometimes referred to as a simple “page turner”.

The Multimedia Slideshow Tool helps enrich e-learning content, with the slideshows produced capable of being run on non-Flash mobile devices. Both tools have huge potential for the field of mobile learning, and will be part of upcoming ISN research and content prototype projects.

Interactive image: A new feature in the ILIAS SCORM Editor, developed by ISN to support content for exploratory learning. Slideshow editor: Another tool launched by ISN to support a range of export formats, including some for mobile devices.

November 2nd-3rd: Conference

The conference was officially opened by Andro Barnovi, Deputy Minister of Defense and Rector of the Georgian National Defense Academy. It began with brief updates on Working Group members’ activities, with the exchange of members’ experiences in the field proving interesting and useful. Two special focus topics considered by the Group were “Producing Content for Differing Curricula” and “Mobile Learning”. The first topic highlighted the value of tools that allow for easy translation and localization of content; the second demonstrated that there are a range of mobile learning projects being pursued by members of the group. As a consequence, a “Mobile Learning Special Interest Group” was formed within the ADL WG, to support collaboration on projects in this field.

40 participants from 16 countries were following and discussing a range of presentations. Photo: Reto Schilliger

The second day of the conference focused on content production projects, including the “Introduction to NATO” course, a former flagship product in need of a major revamp after almost 10 years in existence. In addition, the Working Group ran a brainstorming session to support the production of an “Introduction to Cultural Awareness” course, aiming to help learners achieve the basic mindset of “being culturally aware”. This mindset is a prerequisite for translating widely available information on cultural specifics into culturally sensitive behavior.

November 4th: National ADL Day

It has become a tradition that – as a follow-up activity to the conference – some members stay one day longer to present at an additional “National ADL Day”. This event, held for representatives of the host country’s military and civilian education institutes, is intended to foster national collaboration in the fields of technology and content. This time, ten representatives from civilian institutes learned about and discussed the ADL WG’s collaboration model and how it might be applied at a national level to ADL in Georgia.

ADL WG Meeting 2012

The next ADL Working Group conference will be hosted by the Austrian Ministry of Defense in Vienna from 6-8 November, 2012. Participation is by invitation only; interested e-learning professionals from security- and defense-related educational institutions may contact the ADL WG chairman Reto Schilliger.

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