"On Learning: The Future of Air Force Education and Training"
"On Learning: The Future of Air Force Education and Training" is a 29-page white paper developed by Air Education and Training Command to chart the way for Air Force education and training transformation that will take place between 2008 and 2030. The white paper was released Jan. 31, 2008.
1. Generate a body of thought on the future of Air Force education and training.
2. Focus Air Force minds on impending issues for the Air Force.
"On Learning: The Future of Air Force Education and Training" first provides a description of today's recruiting and education and training environments. The paper spells out the challenges the service faces in recruiting and delivering lifelong learning experiences to Generation Y Americans who grew up in the digital age. The paper then describes the vision for transforming today's "education and training" environment to a culture of "learning" in a concept known as Air Force 2.0. This new learning organization is defined by three concepts: knowledge management that discusses how the Air Force operates; continuous learning that covers how the Air Force develops people; and precision learning that explains how the Air Force delivers learning. Air Force 2.0 will have as its cornerstone a virtual delivery interface called MyBase.
The paper states the Air Force will make the transition from an "education and training" to a "learning" environment by adopting seven imperatives:
1. A common vision for the future of education and training.
2. A strategic implementation plan to achieve the vision.
3. A systematic approach for inserting and integrating technology into education and training.
4. An enterprise-wide architecture for education and training.
5. An investment strategy for resourcing education and training transformation.
6. Closer integration of training and operations.
7. A commitment to start now.
In order to develop a learning organization for the future, the Air Force must acknowledge and understand the trends that affect the service's ability to fly, fight and win, such as United States demographics and the ability to attract and maintain an effective fighting force; adversaries and who they will likely be, where they will be from and what capabilities will they possess; and technological advances that will mandate the Air Force continually update its learning platforms to stay current.
Air Force 2.0
The learning organization for the future takes into consideration the Air Force must not only successfully operate and dominate in the domains of air, space and cyberspace, but also in the cognitive domain. This domain exists in the human mind and involves information processing. The affective domain is also very important when training warriors. The live, virtual and constructive mix of the future will necessarily incorporate both domains. Air Force 2.0 is defined by the following concepts:
1. Knowledge Management: How the Air Force operates. This is the "what" of the future knowledge management system.
2. Continuous learning: How the Air Force develops people. This defines "when" knowledge is delivered and "who" it is delivered to.
3. Precision Learning: How the Air Force delivers learning. This determines "how" knowledge is delivered and "where."
The interface for Air Force 2.0 is a virtual learning environment known as MyBase. The MyBase concept will provide an environment for lifelong learning, from educating the general public, to entry into the service, and throughout Airmen's careers and post-career years.
The white paper includes three attached vignettes that show how a person could experience the enhanced learning environment of MyBase from public, training and operational perspectives. In one scenario, a captain uses MyBase to complete Squadron Officer School courses while collaborating with sister service and civilian academic institutions and interacting with virtual characters, or avatars, who guide him through lectures and hands-on field experiences.
"To maintain our position as the world's most respected and feared Air Force, we must carefully consider the future. Technological change is accelerating and to accomplish the Air Force mission in an environment amidst this change, we will need to recruit, train and educate Airmen with agile minds and cutting edge skills; Airmen able to counter future adversaries who seek out new technologies as they search for an asymmetric warfighting advantage."
"The young men and women who will lead our Air Force in the future have been living in a digital world their entire lives and are better prepared than any other generation to operate in this environment. It is imperative that we understand their needs and expectations, and develop an enterprise-wide system that fosters learning and captures their most critical asset -- knowledge."
"Airmen must have systems in place that allow them to share their gained knowledge with others, to collaborate and to successfully operate and dominate in the world of air, space and cyberspace. If the Air Force of 2030 is to be an agile, adaptive, learning organization, it must embrace change, accept risk, cope with reverses and learn to reinvent itself -- constantly."
-- General William R. Looney III, commander of Air Education and Training Command
On the Web
The complete white paper is available on the Web at www.aetc.af.mil/library/whitepaper.asp.
(Current as of January 2008)