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Planning for the future of learning

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Zachary Chapman
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs
Presidio of Monterey, Calif. is taking the initiative with the Foreign Language Design Sprint and digging deeper into the science of learning to help improve the way their students learn. The event was a three-day seminar featuring question and answer boards, guest speakers, discussions on goals and designing a road map to meet those goals.
Throughout the day, the participants were identifying challenges and writing “How might we?” questions on sticky notes, such as “How might we make learning more engaging?” At the end of the day, the participants discussed outcome goals at various points of time ranging from six months to five years.
With any change there is the potential for improvement and failure, but Col. Stephanie Kelley, 517th Training Group commander, sees the importance of change. 
“This is risky, but the nation needs qualified linguists,” said Kelley. “We feel the risk is worth it.”
Two proposed goals were creating a less stressful environment based on the increased understanding of stress and its effect on learning, and the creation of a resources “potluck” from participants. One example of the potluck is technology available from MIT Lincoln Labs.
The event hosted other experts from academia and government stakeholders all helping to brain storm ways in which the science of learning can help the students. There was a series of lightning demonstrations from Applied Research Lab for Intelligence and Security, University of San Francisco, Pearson, Yale, Middlebury Institute of International Studies, and more. 
According to Master Sgt. Jesse High, Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center office of standardization and academic excellence noncommissioned officer in charge, “Topics included the use of virtual reality for language education, cognitive stimulation for language learning, the use of film in language studies, and the building of fluency through appropriate language exposure and narrative re-telling. These demos will continue through the morning and over lunch. The participants can try out some of the technologies being discussed.”
With new concepts and lessons learned from the design sprint, the 517th TRG now has a clearer direction and understanding of how to update the Air Force language training curriculum. They have committed to their students and the future; and know they must adapt to a constantly changing and improving world.