Training Solutions Development

Enhancing Operational Capability

Political confrontations, and other global instabilities, driven by resource interests, fear, and honor (Thucydides, 430 BC) mandate a deeper appreciation of both the continuities of and changes to warfare in order to gain new perspective on modern warfighter performance demands (McMaster, 2015). Conventional and special operations forces providing a joint combined arms capability must increasingly intensively collaborate to ‘…understand, influence, or compel human behaviors and perceptions. …understand cognitive, informational, social, cultural, political, and physical influences affecting human behavior and the mission’ (U.S. Army Operating Concept, 2014). The theaters of modern warfare require all mission participants to ‘…think like men of action and to act like men of thought!’ (Mattis, 2014).

Leaders seeking to accelerate the development of warfighter and team performance proficiency must ‘…exert influence to foster individual and team discipline, confidence, and cohesion through innovative, realistic training. …combined with self-study, rigorous education in joint and Army institutions, and leader development…’ (U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, 2017). A clearer understanding of the nature and fallacies of war, as well as of warfighter and team performance, is foundational to crafting more targeted, impactful, and enduring training solutions; as well as to ultimately generate the unit readiness required to proactively force multiple dilemmas upon our nation’s enemies (McMaster, 2015).

Since inception, StraCon Services Group has proudly collaborated with, learned from, and actively supported the U.S. Department of Defense’s, aligned agencies’, and senior stakeholders implementing innovative training. We appreciate the battlespace dominance afforded by the sophisticated technology used to project power but we are also always aware it is the warfighter that must embed, adapt, and thrive in deceptive, chaotic context if we are to achieve our most critical national security objectives. StraCon’s subject matter experts actively shape each phase of solution generation ensuring the tactical relevance of training and successful proficiency transfer downrange.

StraCon designs, develops, and delivers instructionally sound and cost-effective learning solutions for the Digital Age. A digital revolution to augment or completely replace traditional classroom lectures with web-based training and distributed learning (dL) is underway and StraCon is at the forefront of efforts to deploy the training tools and architectures required for more successful dL and Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) learning experiences. It is anticipated half of all learning will be enabled by web-based technology during the 21st Century (U.S. Army Research Institute, 2002) and StraCon offers a portfolio of web-compliant, interoperable, mobile, and scalable training solutions.

StraCon also recognizes the true promise of any emerging training technology is not fully realized without a fusion of principles and practices of several scientific disciplines (e.g., psychology, neurosciences, psychometrics, engineering, economics, computer sciences). StraCon synthesizes the lessons learned from each of these sources to forge challenging, engaging experiences which realistically portray operational demands to activate and sustain persistent learning during the career continuum. We blend training theoretics tools and techniques from classical, operant, cognitivistic, and constructivistic learning sciences to accelerate warfighter proficiency attainment and mission transfer. StraCon’s subject matter expert relationships are focused on ensuring a contextualized application of the learning sciences.
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

Advances in computer hardware and software provide an unprecedented capacity to bring geographically dispersed trainees together within an immersive Virtual Learning Environment. VLEs are synthetic, simulated worlds which can include a mix of synchronous and asynchronous communications software functionality combined with online methods of courseware delivery (slide presentation, video demonstration, scenario practice, trainee information posting and exchange). Some VLEs reproduce a classroom environment online whereby students separated by distance and/or time meet, interact, and independently and interdependently explore and learn virtually. Interactive VLEs can also provide opportunities for collaborative problem solving, synthetic social interaction, social negotiation, and team decision making in somewhat realistic task settings which help facilitate warfighter knowledge construction and retention.

When professionally applied, VLE technology offers the capability to increase trainee immersion, presence, attention, and active learning thereby improving the yield of cognitive (facts, information processing skills, mental structures), behavioral (psychomotor skill, social response repertoires), and affective (confidence, cohesion, emotional regulation skills) learning outcomes. VLEs developed with constructivistic learning principles encourage individual learners to actively seek meaning and construct their VLE world through their own unique and integrated experiences. StraCon believes such settings are also applicable to team and larger collective (squad, platoon) training whereby trainees work interdependently and benefit from peer modeling, tutoring, and motivation during social learning. StraCon’s Instructional Systems Designers (ISD) help maximize the learning attained and retained from VLEs by ensuring the mission operations authenticity and instructional integrity of the planned and emergent learning experiences that unfold during VLE simulation.

Instructional Systems Design (ISD)

StraCon provides training decision support services, research and development (R&D) services, and training solution delivery services. Our Instructional Systems Designers (ISD) and Subject Matter Experts (SME) apply lessons from the learning sciences as well as ISD principles, approaches, and tools to develop and field training solutions tailored to the learner’s specific performance conditions and standards. Expert application of the learning sciences and ISD practices can increase a learner's attainment, transfer, and retention of Knowledge, Skill, and Attitudes (KSAs) and task performance proficiency. We also help senior stakeholders implement policies and practices to yield clearer traceability of training benefits and to channel actionable information to develop and improve the quality of warfighter training.

Train the Trainer

Training systems must be consistent, both in operation and outcome. They must also be scalable, maintaining their robust consistency as demand fluctuates. In the expanding age of Digital Learning and Virtual Learning Environments, old methods such as the simple hiring of retired experts as instructors must give way to properly structured Train-the-Trainer programs. StraCon applies ISD principles to its Train-the-Trainer products and considers the trainer's role in capitalizing on constructivist training techniques such as "cognitive apprenticeship," "scaffolding," and "fading." The creation of trainer handbooks is an essential starting point, along with the capture of multimedia examples of both desirable and undesirable trainer/student performances for reference. The combination of written guidelines with repeatable vignette references help to establish a common set of standards for trainers to adhere to regardless of their background and past experiences. A frequently overlooked requirement of dL training is the ability to react to and overcome degraded communications which can occur intermittently when students are widely separated by distance and/or time. StraCon can help with fulfilling the demand for instructors who possess the collective instructional training, performance assessment, and feedback skills needed to address modern dL and VLE training environments.

Distributed Learning (dL) Solutions

StraCon builds a variety of training products for use in Distributed Learning (dL) environments with the principal goal of improving Warfighter performance proficiency and thereby unit readiness. Our dL products are effective and efficient learner-centric training solutions. They are scalable for use in varying contexts, conditions, and Operational Tempos (OPTEMPO) in support of individual, collective, or institutional training. Our innovative solutions are available on demand and delivered point-of-need offering the flexibility to precisely and quickly target unit critical training needs and learning objectives at the individual or squadron level.

StraCon produces optimized curricula grounded to recent military doctrine, operations procedures, and science of training literature, aligning content to current standards to increase instructional quality, operational realism, and maximize performance transfer. Our solutions are adaptive to meet the requirements of the individual learner or an organization’s requirements for training in dynamic and complex domains. StraCon builds diverse Interactive Multimedia Courseware (IMI) training products for use in Distributed Learning (dL) environments supporting individual, or institutional training outside of a traditional classroom setting.

StraCon’s project management and content authoring tools ensure status transparency and continuous quality improvement to develop high-fidelity, distributed courseware products. Our IMI products have included diverse and structured media that are usability focused, and contain content and interactive graphics to meet or exceed the customer’s requirements for IMI levels of interactivity. They are technically robust, easy to navigate, contain clear lesson objectives, and include appropriate contextual examples relevant to the intended operational environment.

 
Interactive Multimedia Instruction (IMI)

StraCon crafts electronically-delivered interactive training media with high production values. Our IMI products are primarily focused on the training of concepts and processes, but they can be extended to the teaching of procedures as well. StraCon's IMI is technically robust, easy for the student to navigate, displays clear lesson objectives, and includes appropriate contextual examples relevant to the student's intended operational environment.