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  • Defense AT&L: July-August 2004 50

    As DAUs strategic planner, Hardy helps to set the direction for theuniversity. He has a doctorate in adult and continuing education fromVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. McMichael is executivedirector of learning programs and technology for the DAU. His doctorate isfrom the University of Delaware, and he was a fellow in PrincetonUniversitys Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

    W O R K F O R C E D E V E L O P M E N T

    The AT&L Performance Learning Model

    Christopher R. Hardy and James McMichael

    The mission of the Defense Acquisition University(DAU) is to provide practitioner training, careermanagement, and services to enable the AT&Lcommunity to make smart business decisions anddeliver timely and affordable capabilities to thewarfighter. The most far reaching learning and develop-ment initiative we have undertaken since becoming apremier corporate university is the full deployment andrefinement of our multidimensional learning constructthe AT&L Performance Learning Model (PLM).

    A Flexible, Responsive, and Agile LearningEnvironmentAs an overarching learning model, the PLM helps us focuson more than classroom training and provides us abroader mission to ensure we include all of our additionallearning assets in the educational products and serviceswe provide our customers in the Department of Defense(DoD) AT&L workforce. As DAU has evolved, so too hasthe PLM. Using this new paradigm, DAU will help providea learning environment for all AT&L organizations where(in the words of learning organization guru Peter M Senge)they cannot not learn, balancing what we now providetraining courses, knowledge sharing, continuous learn-ing, performance support, and rapid deployment train-ingwith local learning resources and infrastructure bymeans of a learning network.

    Transparent to the learner, the PLM will provide conve-nient and economical access to learning products 24 hoursa day, 7 days a weeka learning network where mem-bers of the AT&L workforce can seamlessly access learn-ing assets. With the PLM as a foundation, the 134,000members of the DoD AT&L workforce will have a moreflexible, responsive, and agile learning environment. Fulldeployment of the PLM as a network of learning assetswill significantly expand the learning environment andwill enable DAU to help focus and align all collective learn-ing assets to the strategic business goals of our seniorleadership. This customer-focused approach will signifi-

    Total L&D by FY

    FY 00 FY 01 FY 02 FY 03

    FY 00 FY 01 FY 02 FY 03Classroom hours 2,900,000 2,100,000 1,700,000 2,260,000eLearning hours 120,000 463,000 540,000 1,470,000CL module hours* 331 20,382 456,423AKSS site hours 240,000ACC site hours 37,000RDT hours 18,000PS hours 118,800

    Total Hours 3,020,000 2,563,331 2,260,382 4,600,223

    Total Learning & Development Hours





















    *includes AWF hours in non-DAU hosted courses

    Nearly .9 million hours more learning products

    to the workforce

    104 per




    Power of the PLM

  • 51 Defense AT&L: July-August 2004

    cantly contribute to AT&L Goal Number 7a moti-vated, agile workforceextending the concept of learn-ing beyond the classroom into the workplace to sup-port field organizations needs. DAU will now be ableto facilitate learning organizations throughout the DoDAT&L community.

    Major components of the PLM are:

    TTrraaiinniinngg CCoouurrsseessDAU offers over 90 mandatory certification,assignment-specific, executive, and interna-tional courses spanning 13 career fields. Thisyear, DAU will deliver training to almost 60,000graduates via 1,170 offerings through an ap-propriate mix of classroom, Web-based, and hy-brid offerings.

    PPeerrffoorrmmaannccee SSuuppppoorrtt//RRaappiiddDDeeppllooyymmeenntt TTrraaiinniinngg Through on-site consulting, targetedtraining, and online knowledge shar-ing tools, DAU continues to supportstudents and their organizations afterthe classroom experience. Subject mat-ter experts provide the workforce withsolutions and best practices for work-place problems. In turn, DAUs facultymembers continuously maintain ex-posure to real-world field techniquesand issues. They can immediately in-fuse lessons learned into the DAU cur-ricula. Our performance support effortnow includes a rapid deployment train-ing initiative. When policy changes,teams create new learning materialsand place them in a digital repositorywithin five days of the change. Withthis initiative, the workforce will havealmost near real-time access tochanges that affect their jobs. Learn-ing products are available through var-ious electronic media as well as throughmobile training teams providing on-site instruction. (As one example, morethan 12 members of the AT&L work-force received 18,000 hours of rapiddeployment training within weeks ofa new policy release.)

    CCoonnttiinnuuoouuss LLeeaarrnniinngg MMoodduulleessDoD policy calls for the DoD AT&Lworkforce to operate as a con-tinuous learning community.Members of the workforce arerequired to have 80 hours of con-tinuous learning every two years.

  • In response to this, DAU formally launched the Continu-ous Learning Center (CLC) in July 2001. All modules inthe CLC offer the workforce the opportunity to meet theircontinuous learning requirements while keeping abreastof current initiatives in acquisition. Since its launch, usage

    has increased tremendously. We now have190,578cumulative accesses; 166,887 registered users;

    106,750 completions of Continuous Learning CenterModules; and 456,423 contact hours.

    KKnnoowwlleeddggee SShhaarriinnggThe AT&L Knowledge Sharing System (AKSS) provides acomprehensive on-line reference repository, connectionsto knowledge communities, an Ask-a-Professor supportfunction to answer questions from the workforce, and ac-cess online to documents and information retrieval ser-vices through DAUs David D. Acker Library. AKSS is theAT&L single gateway to knowledge sharing. Over 18,000people per week visit and use this learning asset. The Ac-quisition Community Connection (ACC) is the collabora-tive arm of AKSS. Its knowledge sharing communities in-clude interest areas, private workspaces, and DAU coursecommunities. The ACC, which is available to the AT&Lworkforce on a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week basis, is animportant function that helps the AT&L workforce discussand solve problems and issues encountered in the field.Conversely, the lessons-learned from the contributionsthat subject matter experts make to the AKSS Web sitecontribute to the body of knowledge DAU faculty can usein building lessons and in the classroom. (Editors note:For an in-depth description of AKSS, see Knowledge Shar-ing System and Communities of Practice, PM Magazine,Sept.-Dec. 2003, 14-20.)

    Acclaim for the AT&L PLM The AT&L community is defined by its people and orga-nizations. People have jobs and careers; organizationshave missions. DAU supports both, enhancing the valueadded to the employees and value added to the corpo-ration. Our workforce receives value in terms of their jobperformance, their career development, and intangiblessuch as intellectual exchanges. However, what ultimatelymakes the difference is the value that accrues to the or-ganizations.

    The PLM has delivered significant resultsnearly one mil-lion hours accounting for a 104 percent growth in addi-tional learning products to the workforce (see Power ofthe PLM, page 50). On September 23, 2003, the achieve-ment of the PLM was publicly recognized when, in com-petition with 189 other applicants, DAU received the Bran-don Hall Gold Medal Award for Excellence in e-LearningBest Practices for the AT&L Performance Learning Model.

    Editors note: The authors welcome comments and ques-tions. Hardy can be reached at christopher.hardy@dau.miland McMichael at

    Defense AT&L: July-August 2004 52

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