Army Distance Learning: Potential for Reducing Shortages in Army Enlisted Occupations

By Michael G. Shanley; Henry A. Leonard et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter Seven
CONCLUSIONS

We conclude that DL can contribute to strategies to reduce shortages and improve fill rates and can facilitate the Army's efforts to expand on those strategies (e.g., widening the window for reclassification). DL is particularly suited to making the reclassification, crosstraining/MOS consolidation, and acceleration of training options more attractive to soldiers and commanders and more cost-effective for the Army. In addition, the three DL-based strategies will be useful in filling personnel gaps at both SL1 and NCO levels, and they will reduce the associated per-soldier cost of reducing shortages. Finally, the strategies can reduce the inevitable cost of force structure imbalances in a dynamic system, and they can indirectly improve the effectiveness of SRBs in reducing shortages. While the benefits identified in this analysis do not generally translate into current budget savings, we conclude that DL will increase the effectiveness of the overall process of reducing MOS shortages and will allow significant cuts in the Army's future cost of reducing personnel shortages.

However, realizing all these potential benefits requires careful implementing of the DL program. This means making earlier choices of courses for conversion during DL's long implementation period and concentrating on those courses that are most amenable to DL and that will help most to reduce the shortage problem (i.e., those focused on shortage MOSs, consolidating MOSs, and training problem MOSs). Most important, it also means creating DL courses that are attractive to students, commanders, and the Army, with sufficient flexibility to easily integrate into varying soldier career paths. In this regard, the DL program should emphasize the maximum use of emerging learning technologies to help reduce learning time (and,

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