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Guest View: Training for the trenches – from battlefronts to boardrooms

Low Mei Lin | July 3, 2014
Rethinking the way we train in the 21st Century

For many countries across the world, the issue of skilled manpower is a critically important one. This is especially the case in Singapore, a country with a population of just 5.4 million. With no natural resources to tap on besides the very people who call Singapore home, organizations in the Lion City face this challenge every day.

Leading organizations understand that growing knowledge and training its human capital is the fuel of innovation. Bersin & Associates recently found that organizations with a strong learning culture are 92% more likely to devise novel products and services, 56% more likely to be first in market and 53% improved at responding to customer needs1.

Organizations that adopt a learning culture and invest in the tools to achieve it will adapt to changing market conditions faster than competitors and reap the benefits in the form of productivity gains, workforce agility, employee retention and cost savings.

For the Singapore Armed Forces, manpower is a particularly challenging issue. The need to both maintain an effective deterrent while minimising the impact on the lives of those who are called upon to do their duty is serious business. Accordingly, the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) in Singapore announced plans to hire 1,100 new trainers to improve training quality and reduce overall enlistment time2.

But what if it isn't possible to hire more training staff? What if there is a shortage of trainers, or the funds are not available?

Around the world, several military units have begun using video collaboration solutions to augment training. The United States' Army, Air Force and Navy as well as NATO and the Europe Regional Medical Command are all examples of organizations which use video collaboration solutions to effectively enhance their training programmes and keep up with the changing face of military operations3.

The advantages of video collaboration-enabled learning are many.  Classes can be presented in real-time, recorded, streamed and made available at room locations, desktop computers, and mobile devices which can be used while out in the field. Such solutions often include displays, microphones, software, smart phones, tablets, content tools, interactive whiteboards, automatic cameras and even closed-captioning or language-translation capabilities.  Everyone is equally involved in the collaborative learning process.  Thus, the results of utilisation are productive, exciting and yield a state of "increased readiness" for military personnel.

Practical training in the field can also be augmented with the use of video collaboration technology. Soldiers on a training mission may relay a video feed back to headquarters to ask for input from specialists. Medical personnel attending to a unique emergency can directly link to senior staff  with the right experience, to walk them through resolving the situation.

 

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