Navy Training Programs Receive Recognition at 2012 ASTD Awards Ceremony


Navy training earned several awards during the 2012 annual American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) awards ceremony at the Colorado Convention Center, May 7.

 Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) subordinate commands were acknowledged for initiatives and programs developed in 2011 in career development, workplace learning, organizational learning and learning technologies. “These awards are a national recognition of the hard work and dedication of our instructors and support staff, as well as our partnerships with the fleet commands in identifying training needs,” said Rear Adm. Donald P. Quinn, NETC commander.

 Accepting the awards on behalf of the Navy and NETC was Rear Adm. David F. Steindl, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) commander, along with staff members from the training directorates of NETC. “I could not be more pleased that the Navy’s commitment to training has again been recognized by the American Society for Training and Development,” said Steindl, who oversees 98 percent of all accessions training in the Navy.

To be recognized as one of the top training organizations is an incredible honor and validates the Navy’s investment in education and training.” ASTD is the world’s largest association dedicated to workplace learning and performance professionals. ASTD members come from more than 100 countries and connect locally in more than 130 U.S. chapters and with more than 30 international partners. Members work in thousands of organizations of all sizes, in government, as independent consultants, and suppliers. In 2010, Navy training was also recognized with five awards. There were 159 submissions received by ASTD from training organizations around the world in 2011. Nineteen award recipients were announced, with the Navy receiving three awards and three citations for Excellence in Practice. This category recognizes results achieved through the use of practices and solutions from the entire scope of workplace learning and performance. Applications are accepted for both new and proven practices in these categories: Career Development, Diversity and Inclusion, Integrated Talent Management, Learning Technologies, Managing Change, Organizational Learning, Performance Improvement, Technical Training, Training Management and Workplace Learning and Development. Steindl said some of the nation’s largest companies and some international organizations attended the awards ceremony. “The ceremony was very energetic,” Steindl said.

Many people I talked to afterward had no idea about the training initiatives of the Navy and were very impressed with the results of our programs. Maintaining NETC’s presence within this organization will continue to show the civilian sector the Navy’s cutting-edge training programs and practices in the future.” The ASTD Excellence in Practice award recognizes results achieved through learning and performance solutions that are proven to have delivered measureable results. All 159 submissions were vetted by an industry panel, with 19 awards and 61 citations handed out. Navy training had more Excellence in Practice Awards (3) than any other corporation or government entity. The three Navy ASTD Excellence in Practice award winners were: Surface Warfare Officer School (SWOS) Newport was honored in the Learning Technologies and Training Management category for their development and use of technology to provide training in ship handling, engineering and surface warfare tactics. Among their technologies are the Conning Officer Virtual Environment Intelligent Tutoring System (COVE-ITS), and the Tactical Action Officer Intelligent Tutoring System (TAO-ITS) Learning Management System (LMS). COVE-ITS uses voice recognition technology with a virtual tutor to assist students who wear virtual head mounted devices in learning to recognize conditions requiring ship handling orders, anticipate responses of other crewmembers, and make the ship respond according to plan in a wide range of situations and environmental conditions.

The system allows students to practice repetitions of basic level skills. Using TAO-ITS, SWOS instructors have the ability to review, evaluate and remediate a student’s overall performance following the completion of a tactical scenario. In addition to determining an overall grade, the LMS provides a performance review, which includes providing detailed feedback on a student’s understanding of key individual warfighting principles. The Center for Naval Engineering’s Basic Engineering (CNE) Common Core Course received an award for Performance Improvement. The course instructors noted an increase in failure rate and conducted an assessment on the course and remediation procedures. By restructuring the course and adding subject matter experts during remediation to work with Sailors, the staff was able to decrease overall non-graduation rate from 2.21 percent to .02 percent. In the Performance Improvement and Technical Training category, the Center for Naval Intelligence (CID) detachment in San Diego was recognized for their Business Case Analysis (BCA) on computer use and maintenance. The facility changed from a process of loading student workstation software classroom-by-classroom to one with a virtual desktop loaded from a centralized server, resulting in a 50 percent reduction in information technology (IT) support workload.

A BCA was conducted examining the feasibility of extending the San Diego project to include the Virginia Beach facility. “Being recognized by the world’s largest association dedicated to workplace learning and development, and winning three Excellence in Practice awards and three citations is a great tribute to the instructors and staff that dedicate their careers transforming civilians into highly-skilled combat-ready warfighters,” said Michele Harrison, NETC planning and metrics branch head, who for the fourth straight year managed submission of the ASTD Excellence in Practice applications.

Training programs also received citations recognizing excellence in training. The Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS) Dahlgren received praise in the Organizational Learning and Performance Improvement area for their Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Advanced Warfare Training (AWT). According to the submission to ASTD, during a capabilities readiness assessment, a formal graded assessment process identified deficiencies in combat systems operations and maintenance training. Former personnel reductions resulted in insufficient manning. The Integrated Air Missile Defense (IAMD) Advanced Warfare Training (AWT) and evaluation process was created as a comprehensive curriculum to correct these training deficiencies. It is delivered in three phases and is designed to be repeated on an 18 to 24 month cycle. The Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training (CNATT) Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N. C., received a citation for their excellence in Organizational Learning. The center used a continuous process improvement practice to identify and remove bottlenecks in the training progression while students waited for training. Prior to the review, the average wait time for students to begin training was 22 days. After the review and process changes, the average time has been decreased to less than 13 days. Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) received a citation for Learning Technologies and Organizational Learning, for its use of a Student Response System (SRS) during accession training at the Navy’s only boot camp, Recruit Training Command (RTC), at Great Lakes, Ill., and Officer Training Command (OTC) at Newport, R.I. During the orientation phase, recruits and officer candidates endure long hours of training. As a result, they are often mentally and physically exhausted when entering the classroom.

To improve learner engagement and retention, NSTC tested and implemented a practice incorporating the use of student response systems (SRS). The technology includes response pads which the students use to respond to questions created and integrated into the existing lesson plan. In addition to using SRS to create more collaborative environments, this practice has been designed to align with existing curriculum, reinforce learning objectives through research proven questioning methods, and provide immediate feedback to instructors and recruits. “I’m excited,” said John Drake, the director for learning strategies at NSTC. “It’s nice to be recognized for our efforts to improve the quality of Navy training. I appreciate the command has allowed us to continue to focus on these kind of projects and initiatives.” The ASTD Excellence in Practice awards marked the second time this year the Navy has received recognition for training initiatives. In February, the sea service was lauded as a top training organization and ranked 13 out of 125 for excellence in employer-sponsored workforce training and development by Training Magazine at its 2012 Conference and Expo at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. 

“One of our key strategic initiatives is for the Navy to be a Top 50 employer,” Drake said. “One of the [Chief of Naval Personnel’s] objectives toward obtaining that goal is to show that our training is on par with any other organization. Being cited for these awards by different organizations like ASTD and Training Magazine validates that the Navy is taking all the steps they can to ensure our staff and employees have the best training possible, and we’re doing everything we can to be that Top 50 employer. Anytime we can get recognized for our training initiatives at this command or out in the NETC domain, it is a feather in the cap of the Navy.” NETC’s vision is to be a global force empowered with the training and education to protect national security and foster peace and prosperity. The mission of NETC is to develop the Navy workforce through education and training that builds personal, professional, and leadership skills. The mission of NSTC is to transform volunteers into naval service professionals. NSTC instills and reinforces enduring core values, knowledge and skills to prepare them for the fleet.