GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany – New tools, new content and the exchange of experience highlighted a three-day Advanced Distributed Learning workshop put on by the Partnership for Peace Consortium Nov. 6-8 in Vienna, Austria.
The annual event at the Austrian National Defense Academy included 53 participants and consortium staff. Attendees represented Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands, Ukraine, and the United States.
The annual ADL working group meeting focuses on the introduction of new tools, the exchange of experiences and the launch and support of new content. This year's meeting had a specific focus on content and tools for new forms of training and delivery modes, including using social networks and mobile learning, according to organizers.
Dr. Greta Keremidchieva, a member of the working group from the Rakovski National Defense Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria, saw the event as a chance to grow.
“[The meeting] was an excellent opportunity for IT and educational experts from over 20 nations and a number of organizations related to security building to discuss the latest ADL issues and look ahead to future developments of the e-learning capabilities,” she said. “The field of education and training is an open territory where new technologies could be applied to enhance the learning process. The ADL community is here to support traditional forms in the classroom with advanced … capabilities.”
The working group goal is to create and share content to support e-learning. The group also develops open-source tools for content production and delivery. Reto Schilliger, chairman of the working group and the head of e-learning at International Relations and Security Network, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, said it also shares methods and experience in the field of technology-based education.
“The established international and institutional cooperation supports ADL capability building in Partnership for Peace countries and institutions and contributes to the consortium’s overall goal of strengthening defense and military education,” Schiliger said.
“E-learning is the way of the future. This conference is an important step in that direction,” said Dr. Raphael Perl, consortium director.
Advanced distributed learning is the product of the ADL Initiative, established in 1997 to establish standards for training software and services to support interoperability and tailored delivery of content. The Department of Defense office of the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness oversees the ADL Initiative. The consortium's ADL working group started work in 1999.
Dr. Tom Archibald, ADL Laboratory in Alexandria, Va., said the three days were productive and informative.
“This year's meeting did not disappoint,” Archibald said. “ADL personnel participated in multinational presentations and discussions regarding various ADL-related topics. The multi-national perspective is extremely important to the ADL Initiative and the U.S. Department of Defense as we seek to collaborate with our international partners."
Keremidchieva said the attention to detail and professionalism shown throughout the event stood out. “The meeting was a unique chance to enhance the cooperation among professionals in the field of education from different countries and create long-lasting relationships. All in all, these efforts contribute to building the soft power on national and global scale.”
Founded in 1998, the Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes is a cooperative network linking in total more than 800 defense academies and security studies institutes in 59 countries. Through research and activities funded by member countries and institutions, the consortium seeks to strengthen defense and security policy education and to promote peaceful international relations.