Army ups e-learning ante

The Army National Guard plans to upgrade its defense readiness programs with a new e-learning platform from Click2learn Inc.

Through $2.1 million in contracts announced Jan. 9, the Guard will expand its current offerings, and will base them on Click2learn's Aspen Enterprise Learning Platform.

The Aspen platform has an open architecture and is made up of three modular, but independent, components designed to work as an integrated system.

* The Learning Management Server is used for competency management, skills-gap analysis, tracking of assessments and resource management for e-learning or instructor-led training.

* The Content Development Server is used to rapidly author e-learning content and manage large, team-based content development projects.

* The Aspen Learning Experience Server delivers a personalized learning experience to improve knowledge transfer and facilitate knowledge exchange with a community of peers and experts.

Col. Richard O'Connor, deputy chief of staff/operations at Camp Murray, Wash., said the decision to expand content development and move to the Aspen platform "was based on our firm commitment to advancing defense readiness through state-of-the-art learning." He added that the Aspen platform enables the Guard "to precisely target training content for service members, maximizing our readiness."

By expanding to Aspen, the Guard will also be able to create content with Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM)-based reusable learning objects. SCORM is a Defense Department software specification that sets guidelines for developing online course material.

Click2learn has already completed its first phase of work with the Washington state Army National Guard, which included more than 60 hours of certification courses in military leadership, information technology and other training programs. Service members can now access the training any time, anywhere, said Kevin Oakes, chairman and chief executive officer of Click2learn.

Oakes said the Guard's expansion to Aspen is based on "the platform's features, scalability and open architecture, as well as its strong support for e-learning standards required by the Department of Defense."

As part of this same award, Click2learn's content development specialists are assisting the Washington National Guard in building e-learning content for the Artillery School of Fort Sill, Okla.

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