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Training and Education

Training Goes Virtual

MRTS 3D Lets Sailors Train Whenever, Wherever

Most Sailors know it can be difficult to keep up with training while deployed, or even at home in a high optempo environment.



Navy leaders know it too, and the chief of naval operations' Ready, Relevant Learning (RRL) initiative pledges to deliver training at the right time, in the right place and in the right format for today's Sailors. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) is a key stakeholder in this effort.

"The long-term vision is to offer all Navy training in the Ready, Relevant Learning model, which will become the new norm, backed by repeatable processes, new standards and proven results," said Eric Pfefferkorn, program manager for RRL at NAWCTSD in Orlando, Florida. "We are looking at how a Sailor learns, what they need to learn, when they need to learn it, and the best way to deliver the learning content."

Through RRL, trainers and commanders will have the ability to reach back to training content and resources through a robust learning management system. The program will incorporate modern, technology-based solutions, along with more traditional delivery methods, such as instructor-led and laboratory training.

"Right now, we train Sailors early in their careers and, just like all of us, they forget a lot of that training because they don't use it; they don't have a need to use it until, perhaps, six, seven, eight years down the road. Then we need to refresh that training for them," said Vice Adm. Paul Grosklags, commander, Naval Air Systems Command.

To help advance training, NAWCTSD has developed a non-traditional learning model called the Multipurpose Reconfigurable Training System 3D (MRTS 3D). The program simulates equipment and facilities, such as a torpedo room, in a physics-based video game engine, said David Williams, deputy director, undersea programs at NAWCTSD.

Students follow shipboard procedures and operating manuals, and interact with the simulated equipment through touchscreen commands and gestures, such as turning valves and selecting tools for the job. MRTS 3D can be aligned for individual training, where every student has their own independent simulation, or the hardware can be rearranged to simulate a larger system for team training.

"MRTS 3D is a great example of training outside the traditional classroom," Pfefferkorn said. "The training still requires instructors, but does not necessitate an entire building full of classrooms and associated infrastructure."