NATO boosts defence education efforts through digital transformation

  • 09 Dec. 2021 -
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  • Last updated: 10 Dec. 2021 10:24

On 09 December 2021, NATO Allies launched NATO’s first Defence Education Enhancement Programme Strategy for Distance Learning Support.

The goal is to provide professional military education schools and instructors in Allied and partner countries with the unique digital competencies needed to enable efficient employment of methods, forms, and tools required by the new pandemic-mandated learning system.

The publication of this strategy document is the culmination of work initiated by the International Staff in 2020, shortly after the outbreak of the COVID-19 global pandemic. That early work determined the key technology required for a modern distance learning system. It included identification and procurement of a virtual platform and trained multiple personnel from all our countries to utilize it. The result is that our professional military education systems never completely shut down and the learning needed by our respective militaries never stopped. Rather, distance or on-line learning designed to replicate and, in many cases, improve upon previous resident learning expanded over time.

“The digital transformation of defence education has only just begun.  With the publication of this strategy, we hope to make it easier for professional military education institutions to accelerate the adoption of brand-new teaching methods and social learning environments which leverage the tremendous potential of digital technologies.” – said Marc di Paolo, Director of Defence Institutions and Capacity Building Directorate of the International Staff in the foreword to the strategy.

The document transforms Allied and Partner country best practices and lessons learned into a focused strategy to guide future DEEP programme distance learning support in five specific areas: 1. Institutional Support (administration and management of a school); 2 Curriculum Development (what to teach); 3. Faculty Development (how to teach); 4. Advanced Distributive Learning Technology Support (the technology required for a modern distance learning classroom); and 5. English Language Training (teaching English Language). It analyses those lessons learned and makes recommendations how to make online defence education and training more efficient, less costly, more versatile, and more student-centric even after COVID-19.

The Strategy for Distant Learning Support can be downloaded at: link to document on DEEP website