JENM TRAINING, OBTE-STYLE
In a transformation of network management training, the Project Manager Joint Tactical Networks (PM JTN) has adapted the concept and practices of outcomes-based training
As a result, PM JTN, part of the Joint Tactical Networking Center (JTNC), has trained more than 100 operators since January 2013 in the Joint Tactical Radio System Enterprise Network Manager (JENM), a system that plans, configures and monitors Joint Tactical Radio System networks that use the Soldier Radio Waveform and the Wideband Networking Waveform.
I was introduced to OBTE—a training methodology based on outcomes or results versus a standard one-sizefits- all solution to the problem—while instructing at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
OBTE standardizes by outcomes rather than by inputs or processes. In the Army, we know inputs as teaching-totime rather than teaching-to-standard, rehearsing course material until you have it memorized, without authorization to say or do anything other than what is in the script. We know processes as the one and only way of getting to result, accompanied by detailed sequential steps on how to accomplish a task.
The goal of OBTE methodology is to make the training environment more realistic and demanding, empowering students to exercise individual initiative, hone individual leadership skills and take responsibility for their actions.
When explaining outcomes-based training, I like to compare it to understanding and learning golf. The first step is to explain the theory, physics andimportance of ball trajectory and how club angles affect the flight (distance and angle) of the ball. The next step is to go to the driving range to hit several buckets of balls with different clubs and thus learn how each club angle affects the flight of the ball. This is learning by doing.
The final step is to use the acquired knowledge of golf clubs and golf ball trajectory on the course. It is now up to the new golfer to pick the correct club and adapt to the changing environment, as there is no caddy (i.e., instructor) providing guidance on which club to use.
During my tenure at West Point, I learned the process of converting instruction in basic military skills (land navigation, marksmanship, etc.) into OBTE events.
However, applying OBTE methodology to the existing JENM software application training was slightly more complicated. Ihave my mentor and West Point’s OBTE subject-matter expert, retired Army COL Casey Haskins, to thank for providing guidance on how to modernize the JENM training support package using OBTE. Haskins reminded me to trust in my trainer’s expertise; ensure that the instructors understood how to build flexibility into their classrooms; insert problems for students to solve; and clearly define the outcomes I was trying to obtain.
Now that I understood how to improve the JENM training, the next goal was to teach the training team the concepts and processes of outcomes-based instruction, and to determine how best to incorporate OBTE into the JENM training course material.
One of the more critical topics covered in our train-the-trainer event was how to simultaneously teach the student who is ahead of the class while focusing on the main body of students who were on track,
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