The military’s love affair with computer-based training needs to change
Editor’s Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
It’s no surprise that the military loves computer-based training. Billed as the future of education, most high school and middle schoolers are doing some computer-based training, and more than 33 percent of college students are taking at least one online course.
Some courses even use advanced technologies like adaptive learning — it figures out where a student is strongest and weakest and adjusts the curriculum accordingly to deliver customized instruction — helping people learn almost anything from almost anywhere.
Unfortunately, military CBT is often terrible, especially in courses commonly referred to as “General Military Training,” which most service members are required to take on recurring intervals.
Unlike the best programs in civilian education, military CBT is, almost by its nature, formulaic and staid. It’s designed to get very rote lessons across, often annual training objectives mandated by higher echelons. This training ranges from trivial to mission critical, but whether it’s smoking cessation or the Code of Conduct, it is uniformly painted with the same mind-numbingly bland brush.
A great example of the dysfunction in military CBT popped up recently. In an attempt to be relevant and give what ostensibly was a scenario-based question, the authors of a Marine course created a scenario that managed to be as sexist as it was completely incomprehensible.
Most CBT is designed to be “check in the box training,” and troops treat it as such. The people writing the tests seem to be either fellow troops who know that their work is ultimately pointless, or a test writing boiler room, where anonymous …read more
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