• Explore more blog posts
  • Newsletter

March 25, 2024

As personnel change position, flexible training keeps skills fresh

Personnel rotation is an essential and routine process for militaries, but poses training challenges in areas like C4ISR software. For Systematic, a flexible approach to training can ensure skills stay fresh for the long term.

Rotation is very common among military personnel, noted Mikkel Senniksen, Product Manager for SitaWare Aspire, Systematic’s e-training tool that offers digital, hands-on experience in the SitaWare suite.

Militaries often train large groups of personnel to use the SitaWare family before they are posted elsewhere, Senniksen explained. “Then new people come in and they have to train them from the beginning,” he said.

This is natural and necessary, but it can produce challenges, particularly if the timeframe for training is compressed: for example, if a unit must train new personnel quickly to take part in an upcoming exercise.

For this reason, “one of the most important requirements for SitaWare Aspire is to be available and very, very flexible,” Senniksen said.

Tackling skills fade

How does this work in practice? SitaWare Aspire offers in-app training, providing a train as you fight platform that contains the operational SitaWare suite along with a digital instructor supporting trainees as they learn to use the software.

This e-training tool is built on a model that empowers users to do as much training as needed on a schedule that suits them, Senniksen explained. Such an approach is particularly suited to the needs of rotating personnel.

On the one hand, new personnel can learn how to use the SitaWare suite in a flexible, accessible manner. However, it also means that returning personnel can refresh their own training, tackling the challenge of skills fade.

Approaches to training

Personnel rotation means an individual’s training needs will vary throughout their careers. Most SitaWare customers train intensively for a short period, mastering the software before then moving onto another focus.

The software suite is designed to accommodate this approach. For example, if the customer subscribes to the tool for a year, personnel can train intensively for perhaps two months, then return six months later and redo the entire course to refresh their knowledge as required.

This also has benefits for reserve forces, who may be away from their role for months or years at a time before suddenly needing to return. “They can actually go in and freshen up on things before they show up,” Senniksen explained. “That flexibility is a really important part of our offering here.”

This approach helps ensure flexibility and adaptability, said Christian Nørkjaer, Senior Domain Advisor/Training Manager at Systematic.

When compared with instructor-led training, “SitaWare Aspire increases the number of people we can train over time, lowers costs for our customers, and boosts the speed of the training,” Nørkjaer said. Such advantages have clear benefits for military organisations that face considerable rotation of personnel.


Learn, practice, perform

Systematic takes a learn, practice, perform approach to training, with different courses available depending on the taxonomy level in question. The learn phase provides basic training; practice focuses on the needs of specific roles; and perform encompasses collective training goals.

The aim is to move trainees from basic to advanced level, depending on their needs. The major challenge in rotation is at this advanced level, Senniksen said: when these experienced users leave, there can be a real lack of knowledge in the organisation.

For this reason, Systematic’s strategy has moved from a train the trainer approach, focused on a select few trainers, to a model where a range of personnel are trained across different levels.

“We still do train the trainer, but we mainly recommend that customers don’t do it, because of rotation,” Senniksen said. “We try to offer a model where many can reach advanced level in a lot of areas.”

Looking into the future

Systematic aims to “make our training as flexible and easily accessible as possible,” said Gauri Varma Heise, the company’s Director of Service Products. To help meet these needs in the years ahead, the company is looking to the potential of new and evolving technologies.

The Cloud could offer one avenue of development. There is a definite requirement to deploy Sitaware Aspire in the Cloud, said Senniksen, which could have benefits in providing refresher courses for returning personnel or reservists.

“We see a use case where people could deploy it at home if they are in the reserve, or they could use it in officer schools, or even beyond the base doing training online,” he said. “This would make it flexible, available, and capable of scaling up and down – definitely Cloud is the key for the future.”

Sign up to our monthly defence newsletter

Want to stay up to date on all things Defence? Join our community today and receive our monthly newsletter packed with the latest updates and expert opinions.