the Appropriate Technologies
learning can vary in different program formats and delivery. These formats
consist of online tools, like discussion boards and e-mail, and live events,
delivered by video conferences and web conferences. These programs are
self-paced and involves several types of instructional focuses. With the
mixture of delivery practices and methods, technology-based learning offers
just more than online resources or a different way of connecting to distance
learners. If the program is carried out properly, technology-based learning
works well with any learning process and makes learning available in places
that were not traditionally available. The truth of the matter is that
technology’s purpose is to serve the need of the curriculum and teachers should
invest quality effort and time learning to use and staying abreast of
technology so that technology can benefit the curriculum (Staples, Pugach, and Hines (2005).
idea of appropriate technology was developed by E. F. Schumacher using the
practices derived from Gandhi (Todaro, 2003). The definition of appropriate
technology in this case is technology designed to accommodate the social
thinking and physical context of a specific location and time. Today’s
definition defines appropriate technology as the level of technology or
engineering that is used for a particular purpose and considers the advantages
and disadvantages of social and environmental benefits and harm.
The purpose of this paper is to suggest the best
technology solution that could be implemented to solve the learning and
training of National Guard personnel with the appropriate technology.
Methods and Tools
learning involves different methods of distribution of hardware and software
material to handle and remit content and assess learner progress and
communication. The descriptions are of commonly used methods and tools of
•Tutorials are self-paced programs available online and used for
training. Tutorials consist of audio and video in which learners control the
major factors of the learning process. Progress monitoring such as quizzes and
assessments measures understanding.
•Web Conferences are virtual environment meetings focused around
websites displaying visual and textual content with audio and video. The
visuals are controlled by individuals or several participants in a traditional
classroom environment providing chats, interactions, etc.
•Online Forums also known as bulletin boards and discussion groups
allow learner-to-learner or learner-to-teacher interactions conducted through
discussions on specific subjects, starting new threads or replying to others.
Participation in forum discussions involves learners participating online to
view postings and messages of others.
•Electronic Mailing allows the sending of messages between
individuals on the same mailing list. This is different online forums because
postings and messages are delivered to e-mail boxes and are not delivered to an
•Wikis gives members the
opportunity to share a space virtually where documents can be stored, added and
•Blogs are web-journals a part of larger personal or business
website. These basically replace online learning journals.
•Simulations are models or role-playing scenarios used to practice
or test learning. These applications can be simple scenarios or complex,
•Goal-Based Scenarios allow learners to tackle major roles of a
specific mission or job. By learning a particular skill and gaining knowledge,
the learner will accomplish his goal.
•Gaming is simulation with rules where participants are involved in
artificial conflict involving game play and learning objectives, a story with
relevance for the involved activities, and a simulation representing the
learning necessary to accommodate the story and activities.
•Learning Management Systems record, track, and deliver content to
learners; learners receive a progress report, assessment results, and reports
for instructors; enrollment is handled. These learning management systems are
presented in modular fashion for learners to use.
•Integrated Learning Systems are designed for particular learning
content. The hardware, along with the curriculum and lesson, is organized by
competency. Several instruments such as exams, record keeping, written reports,
and user files are used to monitor learning needs, monitor progress, and
monitor and keep student records.
has transformed from since the first training methods that were utilized during
the Prussian militaries (Brewster 2002). The disruptive technology that brought
this change was the new computer and other technologies. These technologies
were replacements of traditional training in the military because they provided
better military readiness, decreased training cost, utilized real equipment and
combat techniques, and were environmentally friendly.
Technology Age carries opportunities and ideas for the military and homeland
security to develop and adopt for their operation and advance their place in
the world’s military competition. The military is experiencing an educational
shift in its attitude toward simulation training (Herz and Michael, 2002). This
type of entertaining technology is not a foreign entity in the military.
Today’s culture is receptive to computer gaming being used as a tool for
learning, socializing, and training (Herz and Michael 2002).
military division of the National Guard are soldiers who must be individually
ready-physically and military occupationally fit. National Guard members are
employed at other jobs and enlist in the military to support the country and to
enlist as a soldier. However, all training objectives must be met. Individual
and collective readiness is the responsibility of the commander and the
training. However, with frequent deployments, face-to-face training is becoming
an issue. To combat this problem, the idea of real-life simulation training for
soldiers can be a solution to professional military education.
Pros and Cons of Technology-based Training
positives of technology-based learning are that the content is standardized;
competency is measured, monitored, and reported electronically; and the
training is conveniently conducted at a self-paced rate. Technology-based
learning reserves time and finances.
negatives of technology-based learning are that there is no personal
interaction and asking questions and receiving feedback can take some time.
Another disadvantage of technology-based learning is that if there is no
interactive participation, learners could scan content material without
actually spending time on task or comprehending the material. Finally, costly updates
of the training content is a problem and limited resources could be problem for
National Guard soldiers, attendance of professional military education training
is mandatory for career advancement. Like any other professional development,
soldiers are enrolled in educational courses and training courses to
demonstrate mastery of military skills. Traditionally, soldiers are trained by
instructors in a whole unit instructional environment that assess the soldiers’
mastery of specific tasks during performances of standards.
type of training and learning, though it can be helpful, is not designed for
the individual soldier. Thus, some type of technological innovation in
educational training needs to be addressed through simulations, goal-based,
blended learning, and self-paced computer-based education techniques.