The Australian Defence Force is looking to capitalise on trends within the gaming and entertainment sector in order to refine and build on its education strategies.
As part of the recently-released Defence Enterprise Learning Strategy (DELS) 2035 publication, the ADF plans to "exploit virtual reality [VR] and gaming technologies, machine learning and artificial intelligence across Defence to enhance learning". According to the DELS, the Commander ADC and Service Training Authorities will be responsible for achieving this strategic focal priority, in consultation with the Chief Defence Scientist.
It is hoped that the provision of content in a more meaningful and engaging manner will track with younger generations.
"Previously the emphasis was on the learner to maintain their attention and engagement, however, increasingly the emphasis is now on the education and training provider to provide content in a way that is more engaging," said Defence in a statement.
"Technology offers opportunities to better engage learners, reach a much wider audience, and allows for remote learning. Learners are also now able to interact with others through digital technology, including their peers, educators, social networks and Defence communities of practice."
Moreover, another key strategic focus announced in the DELS report is the development of an Online Academy to "build capability in future focused learning". While it is as yet unclear which topics might be targeted by such an agency, it is clear that Defence is embracing adaptive learning strategies, which will likely shape the course of recruitment and training in the years to come.
The news builds on plans announced in recent months by the UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD); which in early March flagged a move towards VR training for its armed forces centred on the same platform as the popular game Fortnite. To that end, the MoD has invested £300,000 with SimCentric, a veteran-run software company, to develop and roll out training prototypes.
At the time, SimCentric indicated that the technology would contain a fully-immersive simulated "sandbox" environment, allowing users to crouch, crawl and run appropriately.
"This new simulator is just one way we are bringing training into the next generation, using technology drawn from the world of gaming to support our troops in training," said Professor Dame Angela McLean, chief scientific adviser to the Ministry of Defence.