Three E's: Engage, entertain, educate

The Army School of Cadet Command provides its computer-based training program to its students on a CD-ROM or via the Internet. The content is the same on either format. The CD-ROM is most convenient for students who are on the move and have a laptop computer but not regular Internet access.

To use the Web-based e-learning system, students first go to the Cadet Command Web site, then enter a user ID and password to log on to the system. An introduction with instructions appears on the screen, guiding them through the course.

Using Macromedia Inc. Flash video software on their client computer, the students interact with a multimedia presentation that includes text, color images, audio and video.

"We took a briefing and scripted it out in words," said Maj. Timothy Pike, commandant of the School of Cadet Command, Fort Monroe, Va. Then American Management Systems Inc., the project contractor, "sat down with the words and figured out how to best bring the information to the student."

"The objective was the three E's: Keep it engaging, entertaining and educational," said AMS principal Nancy Hite.

Once students finish a course module, the system provides a summary with an examination to make sure they understand the information, said Eric Miller, a system user and training technician at the School of Cadet Command. Next, the students take an online test. If they pass the test, the system logs them in as completing the module and brings them into the next module. If they fail, the program brings them back to review the areas in which they were weak and then retests them.

"It's easy to follow because of all the pictures and graphics incorporated into the system," Miller said. "A person comes online and starts talking to you about examples of the lesson. It gets you involved in the exercise."

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