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november 3, 2020

German Army benefits from SitaWare e-learning


As a long-standing user of SitaWare Headquarters the German Army is experienced in training its operators, however, as the service undertakes large-scale fielding of the software it has taken a novel approach to ensuring students have a solid foundation to build upon.

The German Army has adopted an innovative approach to its SitaWare Headquarters training programme, utilising a Systematic-developed e-learning solution.

The SitaWare Headquarters eLearning course is designed to enable self-paced and distributed training to take place, permitting a soldier to learn in environments as varied as the comfort of their own home, on-base, or even when on operational deployment.

The German Army was the first SitaWare customer to embrace this approach to training and tasked Systematic to deliver a German-language version of the course that is now providing a foundation for its operators, initially being used by personnel preparing to commence a ‘train-the-trainers’ course.

As a force that has a broad mission set and high operational tempo that includes supporting efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, leading an EU Battlegroup, and heading up NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence mission in Lithuania, it can be a challenge for the German Army to ensure and coordinate the attendance of personnel at training courses, as time is a valuable commodity. Captain Henry Pietzuch, IT Officer with Panzerbrigade 12, explains that the e-learning course helps optimise the time spent on more in-depth training by preparing personnel beforehand, “We don’t have to explain to them what the buttons do and where the apps are. Our experience so far is that this basic knowledge helps a lot in facilitating our training.”

The introduction of the e-learning course has brought efficiencies, “Those that do the e-learning prior to their training catch on really quickly, because they already know the basic setup, they know the terms, and therefore they know what to do and only have to concentrate on using the software. If they did not, I would usually have to invest one to one and a half days for the basics,” Capt Pietzuch notes, adding “it cuts down training time by at least a third.”   

Capt Pietzuch believes that the course could also be employed in other tasks, such as in providing refresher training for SitaWare operators who might not have used the software for some time, or as a familiarisation tool for personnel who will be exposed to it on operations – for example, commanders being briefed via the software – as it demonstrates SitaWare’s capabilities.

According to Capt Pietzuch, one of the biggest benefits in the introduction of the e-learning course is in the familiarity with the operational system that it provides, and that it removes any fear that there might be in using SitaWare, as had been the case with earlier C2 systems. “We have for the first time in the German Armed forces a situation where people want to use the software,” Capt Pietzuch notes.

The SitaWare Headquarters eLearning programme was developed in early 2018 and is designed around a realistic scenario. It is intended to provide training in the functionality of SitaWare Headquarters, rather than stressing the students in a simulated operating environment. The programme provides flexible, on-demand training and combines passive learning – in the form of explanatory videos – with active learning through multiple-choice assessments and periods for reflection.

The course can be delivered in a day and consists of seven 30-45 minute lessons, although it is recommended that the lessons are spaced out over a number of days to allow for more reflection on the learning points.

Capt Pietzuch points to the distributed learning aspect as being of importance, “With the e-learning tool they can do the lessons at their own pace and whenever they have the time. They don’t have to complete it all in one go.”

While the army employs computer-assisted learning in other aspects of training, Capt Pietzuch says that the SitaWare Headquarters eLearning course is novel in its level of integration within the training pipeline for the software, “The SitaWare e-learning tool really is a building piece in the training, where you can directly apply what you have learned to the practical [aspects of training].”

Captain Pietzuch believes that a similar e-learning capability in its training programme for SitaWare Frontline – which is now being taken into service – would be beneficial for the German Army, as would further country-specific e-learning that addresses standard operating procedures specific to the customer. Furthermore, introducing more practical, ‘button pushing’ aspects to the existing SitaWare Headquarters eLearning solution would also be valuable, Capt Pietzuch says.

SitaWare Headquarters eLearning is proving to be a useful tool for the German Army, at a time when the software is being rolled out across the service and will be central to its C2 capabilities, “For me, the main benefits that it brings are flexibility in educating users and how it frees-up resources, because I don’t need a trainer in front of the students, they can do it successfully by themselves,” Capt Pietzuch notes.

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