Acquisition

Next up for acquisition workforce: virtual training

gears on diagram

The agency charged with overseeing development of the government's acquisition workforce says mobile apps that urge users to help solve theoretical disease epidemics, fly electronic versions of Coast Guard rescue helicopters and dissect frogs can be an inspiration for federal contracting officers.

The GSA's Federal Acquisition Institute issued a solicitation Jan. 14 through the General Services Administration's Federal Acquisition Service looking for companies to develop "interactive challenge" mobile apps for virtual acquisition training for the federal acquisition workforce.

FAI said the success of other interactive mobile apps -- the Center for Disease Control's "Solve the Outbreak," NASA's "Space Place" suite that includes "Rescue 406," and Froguts.com's biosimulations -- inspired the solicitation.

The Federal Acquisition Institute was established in 1976 under the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act and charged with fostering and promoting the development of a federal acquisition workforce.

The idea of acquisition apps, said FAI's solicitation, is to give federal acquisition workers a place to experiment virtually with techniques and strategies, reinforcing their knowledge of specific projects without having to deal – right away, at least -- with any real-world consequences.

The solicitation noted that virtual environments provide immersive learning experience and "when coupled with tactile feedback, can simulate real life situations and teach learners how to plan and manage potential issues." More traditional training methods "don't always allow for or even encourage unpredicted courses of actions due to fear of the user making a mistake."

It added that the apps could ease the fiscal strain of rising costs for live training.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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