Navy E-Learning Afloat Achieves Milestones

Monday, June 18, 2007
The months of May and June marked two important milestones for the Navy's e-Learning program in the Afloat (NEL Afloat) environment: the highest monthly total completions and 100,000 total course completions, respectively.

Averaging 220 course completions per day since the capability was deployed, NEL Afloat surpassed 100,000 total course completions June 5. Secondly, during the month of May, ships reported 22,775 course completions, the highest monthly total of completions reported to date. “The number of total completions proves NEL Afloat has been a success. Maybe this is too superficial a view, but, to me, numbers don't lie," said Integrated Learning Environment Chief Engineer Roger White. White pointed not only to the achievement of 100,000 completions as a sign of progress, but also to the number of recently added and upcoming courses. The first 20 modules of the Navy's Basic Engineering Common Core courses (BECC), for example, which has proven not only to be a boon to Sailors in engineering ratings who are seeking advancement, but has become a refresher for those who are seeking to solve real-time engineering problems.

"It's like an owner's manual for the ship," White said. "It's another way we're exploiting capabilities in a new fashion." While pleased with the number of completions reported in May, Capt. Hank Reeves, the Naval Education and Training Professional Development and Technology Center's (NETPDTC) ILE Systems project manager, was quick to point out the data doesn't necessarily mean all of the courses were completed within that month.

"There may be a difference between when the learner took the course and when we receive the data," Reeves said. NEL Afloat began in April 2006 as a method to provide Sailors on board ships and submarines with online courses similar to those available through the Navy e-Learning platform ashore. Because NEL Afloat uses local servers aboard ships which only periodically report completions back to the shore electronic training jacket (ETJ), there is a built-in lag time between when the course is completed and when it is officially recorded in the shore side ETJ.

A recent message sent to the fleet in March, however, required shipboard education officers to transmit shipboard updates at least on a monthly basis. In the future, Reeves said, the objective would be to receive those updates on a weekly basis. Regardless of the time lag to update the shore ETJ, all personal training completion data is kept in an onboard ETJ that is updated instantly upon course completion. NEL Afloat also allows commanders to train Sailors as required without harming operations tempo. For example, since the Department of Defense began requiring all military members to receive Information Assurance Awareness training, more than 20,000 Sailors have completed this training on their own schedules, at their own paces through NEL Afloat.

By Terry Welch, Naval Education and Training Command Public Affairs

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