ADL creator adds to Air Force's e-learning

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
  • I.G. Brown Training and Education Center
Learning. For John Hawk it often starts here with someone needing to train thousands of Airmen as effective and easy and economical as possible.

Hawk is the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center's creator of Advanced Distributive Learning products for the Air National Guard. He sorts though loads of data, ideas, requirements and graphics to structure and develop online learning products for the total Air Force.

"This is the hub of education in the Air National Guard, and this is education, it's just delivered a little different," said Hawk recently.

Hawk retired as an Air Force master sergeant and holds a career path that led him well to his current position. First, he was a financial services specialist, and then an information manager, then he served nearly 5,000 hours as an enlisted professional military education instructor.

He admitted that he is rarely a subject matter expert in the training he develops. Topics including nuclear weapons related material and airfield encroachment are not his forte. No, he would rather have his customers - mostly Air Force and Air National Guard career field managers - collaborate with him to make solid computer-based training.

The TEC has been in the ADL business for more than a decade. Online, service members log on to the active Air Force's Advanced Distributive Learning Service where nearly 140 GoLearn online courses are offered. The TEC designed and developed a dozen or so of the courses that are offered there today.

Hawk's shop at the Media and Engagement Division, Professional Continuing Education, went from several people, to just him, and is now growing again.

The TEC anticipates future demand for ADL projects because they are very effective, Hawk said. ADL is available anytime at any place and at any pace, it has no travel costs and it provides everyone the same quality of current information.

With many including Hawk believes the TEC is intrinsically innovative, Hawk says ADL is rather an end point for innovators in the field who channel best practices and training through the Air National Guard Readiness Center.

"The primary focus, the reason this entity exists is because the Air National Guard needs to get courses out there that are Air National Guard specific," said Hawk.

More than 47,000 students graduated from a TEC designed ADL course in the last year. The active Air Force's nuclear weapons related material fundamentals course is their most popular.

"He's gone above and beyond any expectation that I have had," said Chief Master Sgt. Pamela Rathers, with the Air Force's enlisted force development at the Pentagon.

Rathers worked with Hawk to update their ADLS nuclear weapons related material program.

Hawk was quick to offer suggestions and viable ideas to resolve an access issue for contractors on ADLS, said Rathers.

"He's a valuable asset to us," said Rathers.

Hawk said he provides the customer a high level of service for being a small shop.

The National Guard trainees who take the courses should be appreciative of that attention.

Officials say giving time back to people and organizations through ADL is a value to traditional Guard members, who must balance ancillary training with regular duties, during weekend assemblies.

"We all know it's important, we do," said Hawk. "But we all know it's just one more thing on our to-do list that we are already trying to figure out how to get done."

He said ADL training allows hands-on training to be more concentrated and productive too.

"It allows you to maximize your hours on the flight line or in the workshop because you have already done the pre-work on the computer. It also cuts down on potential TDY time," he said.

Hawk said he is constantly working to make ADL training engaging and easier to digest. He incorporates graphics and intuitive navigation in computer screen layouts. He also makes good use of the TEC's television station broadcasters for voice narrations and videos.

The result is a professional product that might have cost thousands to contract though an outside design agency.

"It doesn't matter where you are, no one should be deprived of the best and most up to date training available" he said. "When it's up on ADLS, there's only one version, and it's the most current."