An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

AETC officials continue to build force development plan for Mission Ready Airmen at DAF Learning Symposium

  • Published
  • By Marilyn C. Holliday
  • Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

Air Education and Training Command officials welcomed about 85 members from across the Department of the Air Force for the third DAF Learning Symposium, held at the Radius Center in San Antonio April 16-18.

This year’s theme was “Competency: Modeling, Implementation and Measures,” and the agenda included the environment to explore risk, learn new approaches and perspectives and to imagine the learning environment the Air Force needs for the future.

“This was the perfect opportunity to share perspectives, deepen connections and exchange knowledge across the Department of the Air Force learning ecosystem,” Dr. Wendy Walsh, Air Education and Training Command’s chief learning officer, said. “When you participate in creating this body of knowledge, we will build a solid foundation for learning engineering.”

In her role as the chief learning officer, Walsh’s team has a nine-year strategy that cycles three topic areas three times each: ecosystem mapping (human-centered), storytelling (mission-focused) and competencies (competency-based). That strategy includes regular information flow and an exploration of narratives, which takes place during learning symposiums.

“These symposiums are about engaging in robust dialogue, embracing differing perspectives, challenging assumptions, and pushing the boundaries of what we thought,” Walsh said. “We purposefully convened participants from talent management and force development communities to cultivate a shared understanding of competency-based learning implementation. The learning ecosystem is an enterprise endeavor and it’s hard work for each attendee to represent their individual communities and networks and then bring that information back to their organizations.”

Throughout the three-day event, attendees were part of various scenarios aimed at advancing competency, modeling, mapping and implementation across the Total Force.

“We are transforming the DAF learning ecosystem to enable our forces to rapidly respond to emerging requirements during competition, conflict or combat,” Col. Sandra Coble, AETC’s Competencies Division chief, said. “These learning symposiums establish the community of practice that incorporates the tools, methods and capabilities enabling our force development efforts.”

The symposium documentation team will collect data, to include survey responses, recordings and graphics throughout the event, and compile it for reporting and analysis. Each year, the data can be used to compliment and guide the next symposium.

“Everyone was engaging in robust discussion and actively listening to each other’s insights and questions—all with the goal to advance understanding of competency development and implementation,” Dana Horn, AETC’s Learning Professionals’ Program Branch chief, said. “It has been a great collaborative environment sharing diverse perspectives and experiences with others from across the DAF.”  

In closing remarks Brig. Gen. Jim Sears, deputy commander for AETC, expressed his gratitude to everyone who attended the symposium and said he “looks forward to seeing the impact as the attendees’ efforts unfold in the future,” while reminding them to remain steady with collaboration.

“As everyone returns to their respective roles and responsibilities, carry forward the momentum generated by this symposium,” he said. “Remain steadfast in your commitment to champion competency-based learning within your organizations and continue to grow your learning ecosystem and network. Your passion, expertise and dedication have made this event a success, and I hope you leave here with a renewed sense of purpose and determination to propel the Department of the Air Force forward.”

The event included representatives from across the DAF, to include Headquarters Air Force, HQ AETC, 19th Air Force, 2nd Air Force, Air Force Research Laboratory, Air University, Air Mobility Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, Air Force Personnel Center, Air Force Institute of Technology, 59th Medical Wing, Space Training and Readiness Command and Air Force Manpower Analysis Agency.