The U.S. Air Force Soars to Higher Training: Maximizing the Future Concepts of Learning

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Katherine Mehr

"To accomplish the Air Force mission in an environment of accelerating change, we will need to recruit, train and educate Airmen with agile minds and cutting edge skills," states the mission statement for the Air Education and Training Command, the learning organization for the United States Air Force.

Many of today’s U.S. Air Force new recruits, who are all within the age of 18, have different skill sets. These younger-generation recruits are more knowledgeable than their predecessors in the digital world, which leverages their preparedness in the environment.

In order to further its preparedness and accommodate continuous change, the Air Force must define future concepts of learning. However, a common question the Air Force asks their internal organization is, "How can we change our educational and training programs in the air force to take advantage of the new skill sets that those individuals [younger generation] have?"

For starters, the United States Air Force has created a few pilot projects, such as virtual world classrooms, that look at the full spectrum, from recruiting right down to training, so that they can take the Airmen out and go fight a war within a few months timeframe.

Additionally, they have been expanding their technology to improve training to reflect the constantly changing environment. The U.S. Air Force, which is regarded as a high-tech division, doesn’t struggle with incorporating technology into their learning programs. They struggle with creating a culture to accept the new technology that will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the training.

Colonel John Thompson, Chief, Future Learning Division of the United States Air Force, shares with Human Resources IQ how the Air Force is making changes to their educational and training programs to accommodate the younger generation’s learning in order to maximize their preparedness for future wars.