News | Aug. 11, 2017

Education, Training, Experience: The Continuum of Learning

By Master Sgt. Joshua Strang Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

Air Education and Training Command is re-imagining how Airmen are developed through a paradigm shift in education, training and capitalization of experiences in a new concept: The Continuum of Learning.
The effort officially kicked off with a leadership summit last week, in which AETC senior leaders, wing commanders, command chiefs and superintendents conducted a deep dive into the CoL redesign.
The CoL initiative is a shift to better focus how Airmen learn by integrating education, training and experience in ways that allow them to learn anytime, anywhere throughout their careers. The end goal is to create a culture of lifelong learning.
“What the new Continuum of Learning does is transform our industrial-age pipeline production system into a more modern-age, learner-centric model,” said Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, the commander of Air Education and Training Command. “We’ve done really well at the training and education pieces, but what we haven’t done well is tying the experiences piece to those two in a deliberate way. This is what we are going to do.”
Chief Master Sgt. Juliet Gudgel, the AETC command chief, said the redesigned CoL is a cultural change.
“The Continuum of Learning is a lifelong learning model that will capture the education, experience and training all together and will be something our Airmen haven’t experienced previously,” said Gudgel. “As Air Education and Training Command, we are going to have to change our thinking and our culture to understand the different learning styles of our Airmen. We are going to dig deep into [competency-based] learning, basing it more on performance instead of the industrial, schoolhouse model we have been using for so many years.”
Key concepts included in this learning paradigm shift are modularized learning, blended learning, on-command and on-demand learning, competency-based learning and the Airman’s learning record.
While senior leaders will introduce these CoL concepts in the coming weeks and months, the redesigned learning approach is intended to give Airmen more flexibility in reaching their learning goals.   
“With on-demand learning, these are the courses Airmen want to do,” said Gudgel. “These are the courses we want our Airmen to go and seek out. They are going to have choices on additional learning that they have not had in the past.”
The shift is currently underway as courses at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, and Maxwell AFB, Alabama, have changed how material is presented and how instructors approach the learning environment. Currently the cyber transport course, science on a sphere and squadron officer school are training under reimagined curricula.
Gudgel said although this is a new process, the redesigned CoL will benefit all Airmen.
“I believe Airmen will be impacted in a positive way,” said Gudgel. “Airmen won’t be stove piped. They will have opportunity to make choices. I am a tactile learner and relate to all those Airmen who can’t just sit and go through a PowerPoint brief. Our Airmen are going to get the best of multiple learning environments. They are going to be more productive in their jobs and happier overall.”