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News | Nov. 3, 2021

DLA Troop Support enhances training through technology, innovation

By John Dwyer III DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

Leaders from the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support’s Training Academy and DLA Information Operations, are delivering a more immersive educational experience to employees starting this week.

Harnessing a combination of existing collaboration tools and a newly implemented open-source training software, instructors will provide “on-the-job,” on-demand training to meet the needs of geographically distributed employees in need of more localized training than other systems provide, Training Academy lead Joanne Anello said.

“This will create a ‘ground level’ view of systems and tasks we do here at Troop Support,” Anello said.

While Defense Acquisition University and other government training systems provide training for employees to do their jobs at a macro level, the Training Academy aims to fill a gap in systems and process training specific to tasks employees use day-to-day, Anello said.

When DLA J6, or Information Operations, Technology Accelerator team lead Craig Gravitz reached out with an offer to collaborate to improve the Academy, Anello focused on organized training discussions and developing an information repository, based on feedback from trainers.

J6 Technology Accelerator team member Adam Price said that a newly available, open-source product called H5P, short for HTML-5-Package, has the potential to create and deliver the training in an organized and user-friendly manner.

“H5P is a software that’s designed to create content, particularly training content,” Price said. “You could have a screenshot and it has a lot of key points … so you can map out details and explanations on the actual screen the [student] would see. It’s just about presenting data in a different way … that’s going to be more receptive to the user.”

Some of the key features include screen recording with voice over and custom text additions to walk and talk users through system and process actions; identification of key points throughout the lesson; and the ability to quickly “jump” to lesson topics identified by the creator.

“So, if I come into this [lesson] and I’ve watched the video before and I know there’s something about , I don’t have to sit through the whole thing again,” Price said. “I can do a search and get directed right to that content.”

The feature has the added potential to make the lessons valuable tools even for veteran employees.

“Some employees in the Training Academy have already been onboard [with DLA] for three to four years,” Anello said. “It has the capacity to serve as ‘refresher’ training reach-back for the entire workforce.”

Faylice Jones, Training Academy instructor and contract specialist, said she was excited for the potential of classroom groups in Teams, organized discussions in the collaborative environment it provides and the capacity to share lesson plans and materials.

“When [trainees] come in, my group would have access to [my lessons and discussions],” Jones said. “They could come in and see that on Friday, these are the lessons that they would be going through …  and when they click on the lesson link, it goes right to H5P.”

Pairing agency requirements with quickly fielded, cost-effective technology solutions - like the open source H5P platform - is not only a win for the Training Academy, but safe thanks to DLA’s J6 team.

“H5P is one of our team’s ‘Test & Evaluation’ software tools,” Gravitz said. “DLA Cybersecurity worked with us to create an approved environment … which allows for appropriate data to fuel safe tests. The idea is to quickly prototype software like H5P with real data.”

While the technology is being fielded this week for the Training Academy, it is only in a test phase, and the collaboration between DLA Troop Support and J6 promises continued engagement for improved solutions.

“We know it’s not perfect now,” Price said. “It’s better to get the content and the feedback early on and adjust as we learn more.”

For more on the DLA J6 Technology Accelerator team and how to engage, go to their page on the DLA website.