Shaping the Environment
— Providing deploying U.S. military personnel a geopolitical and cultural frame of reference to understand and operate in a complex, ambiguous, and rapidly changing environment
CLIENT: Naval Postgraduate School: Leader Development and Education for Sustained
PROJECT: Pakistan Educational Program
U.S. military personnel deploying to hot spots around the world must often work in a cultural landscape
that is vastly different from that of the United States. Achieving U.S. objectives in a cultural landscape as different
as that of the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region requires an understanding the culture, beliefs, historical patterns,
migration trends, geographical factors, ethnic relations and social values of the people living in the region. Without
this understanding, U.S. personnel are likely to make critical mistakes, potentially alienating the very people who are
needed as allies against militant extremists.
The Naval Postgraduate School's Leader Development and Education for Sustained Peace (LDESP) program is designed to complement regular military training by providing insight into the regions of the world where military personnel are to be deployed.
Teleologic Learning Company worked with LDESP to develop a series of online courses that introduced learners to the history, geography, culture, economy, and political and security environment of these areas of the world.
At present, one of the most critical strategic areas for the United States is the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region. Tens of thousands of U.S. personnel are working on the Afghanistan side of the border, and a much smaller number are working inside Pakistan as trainers and advisors to Pakistan's military and security services.
LDESP asked Teleologic to develop a course on Pakistan that would meet the Department of Defense's requirement to acquire knowledge "on key ethnic, cultural, religious, tribal, economic and political relationships, non-military security forces, infrastructure, sanitation and health structure, munitions facilities, border controls, and customs processes."
Teleologic's challenge was to present the material in a dynamic way so that the lessons would present the learners with a memorable experience.
The solution included attention to the following principles:
Purposeful: What is the client trying to achieve?
- The client needed an online learning environment that would engage learners' senses and help them develop a solid base of background knowledge about Pakistan.
Learner-centric: How will the learners' needs be addressed?
- Learners are given multimedia lessons on Pakistan and review questions to test their knowledge.
Visually Meaningful: How does the graphic identity and supporting visual elements support the purpose?
- Graphics give a strong sense of Pakistan's culture and geography.
Technologically Appropriate: How can technology be used appropriately to achieve the client's outcomes?
- A variety of media elements -- audio, video, animation -- create a memorable, engaging learner experience.
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