NATO-Allied Command Transformation and AECT deepen partnership

NATO-Allied Command Transformation and AECT deepen partnership
Virginia Beach, VA.  The strategic partnership between NATO-ACT and AECT continues to deepen. Long-time AECT member and former board member James Ellsworth presented a keynote speech to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-Allied Command Transformation Training Technology Conference that was held August 10-12 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Ellsworth also served as a general officer level leader in the U.S. Army and Intelligence Community, where he led education and training transformation efforts of increasing scope across three decades, from the late ’80s to the mid ’10s. He continues to advise these communities as a consultant and published his Vision for the U.S. Army’s Learning Ecosystem last November. The event was a hybrid conference attended by 195 NATO members and affiliates, 120 online and 75 in-person.
“We have a real opportunity to use the resources we invested in COVID response—and a quarter-century of evidence-based tools and methods in the organization, information, and learning sciences—to build back, not simply more resilient against future system shocks, but also more effective at the human and organizational performance improvement outcomes we deliver. Events of the past year underscore the crucial role of formal alliances in enabling agile and effective response,” said Ellsworth. “The ability for NATO members to deliver the right people, with the right competencies, to the commander at the point of need, anywhere in the world, has never been more important. As a retired senior leader and also a long-time AECT member, it was certainly an honor to represent AECT at this global event.”
Cueing off the conference theme, Ellsworth’s talk focused on how military training has leveraged emerging technologies and methods over the past forty years to move from institutional training at a particular geographic location, focused on training individuals using “canned” scenarios, toward training that can bring the right people—students and instructors—together virtually, no matter where they are in the world at the point of need, to truly “train as we fight” as members of a team, focused on a real mission, in context.
From this, he laid out his vision for a Learning Ecosystem that fuses recruiting, training, and assignments into a unified strategic instrument that finds and delivers the right talent—inside the Army or out—to meet demand signals that can come from commanders, or even soldiers themselves, as well as from the enterprise, and where soldiers can shop for assignments that will promote them, once they’ve assembled the necessary competencies, no matter how they got them. Ellsworth explained that this isn’t ‘just’ about learning, or even ‘just’ about individual performance, but rather about mission accomplishment. As he argued in the Learning Ecosystem vision, “The Learning Ecosystem is the weapon system that ensures we retain intellectual overmatch, as our adversaries work to counter it.”
“One of NATO’s core research and development functions is to investigate emerging technologies and how they can be used to prepare NATO personnel,” said Tonya Amankwatia, AECT representative to NATO and assistant vice provost for distance education and extended learning at North Carolina A&T State University. “AECT’s members are the leading researchers in best practices in digital teaching, educational technology, and learning design. I’m gratified to see the on-going synergistic relationship between both organizations.”
The 2022 event provided NATO members the opportunity to consider best practices in team-based learning and training technology implementation.
“With a war at the doorstep of several of our members, our training mission is essential,” said Salih Cem Kumsal, NATO-ACT’s staff officer for training technologies management. “It’s been quite helpful to have the expertise that the AECT partnership has provided for us as we refine our training delivery and practice.”
AECT and NATO Allied Command Transformation recently signed a three-year extension of their agreement.
About the Association for Educational Communication and Technology (AECT)
AECT is an international organization that values diversity of thought, culture and people whose activities are directed toward improving learning. AECT members may be found in colleges and universities; in the armed forces and industry; in museums, libraries, and hospitals; and in any other places where educational change takes place. AECT members include instructional designers, researchers, professors and teachers, educational technologists and other professionals united by a passion for improving teaching and learning. AECT members serve in many different settings including education, business and industry, non-profits, military, health care and other environments.

Twitter: @AECT
About the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
NATO’s purpose is to guarantee the freedom and security of its 30 members through political and military means. Allied Command Transformation is NATO’s Warfare Development Command. It enhances the Alliance’ posture, military structures, forces, capabilities and doctrines to improve its military effectiveness.

Twitter: @NATO_ACT
Media Contact: 
James Shea

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