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Transforming the way we learn

  • Published
  • By Candy Knight
  • Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Professional Airmen are the backbone of Air Mobility Command’s ability to provide Rapid Global Mobility. Through the ELO office, AMC is helping its Airmen benefit from technological innovations in development, education and training.


“AMC’s Enterprise Learning Office’s purpose is to transform the way we approach learning in the command,” said Dr. James W. Greig II, AMC’s Chief Learning Officer at the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. “We want to help people in the command become lifelong learners, and the command itself to become the Air Force’s premier Learning Organization.”


Using the learning transformation concept is one way ELO is accomplishing its purpose. But what is learning transformation?

“Learning transformation is changing the way we approach learning and the way we regard it as a part of everyday life,” Greig said. “Typically in the past, people had periods of time when they went to school and learned things, and then they went out, and except for some practical experience, the learning was over.”

Learning transformation, done effectively and efficiently, empowers Airmen at all levels to contribute effectively to the mission, readiness, resiliency and their own development.

“Everyone has ideas, from the youngest Airmen to the most senior officer,” Greig said. “There are times when that person can make a positive contribution to what AMC is doing, and learning transformation acknowledges this and aids in the prospect.”

Greig added learning transformation acknowledges there are a variety of aspects to learning, such as classroom education, training for specific tasks, and development. The concept places emphasis on viewing learning as a continuous process.

“Lifetime learning is an important concept because learning really doesn’t stop, it just changes shapes and form,” he said. “What we want to do is acknowledge this and find ways to encourage and build on that type of learning.” 

Another key aspect of learning transformation focuses on learning at the point of need, meaning Airmen will learn the information they need when they need it.

“Being able to learn things when you need to learn them is a key characteristic of the concept,” Greig said. “Many of us remember sitting in a classroom and having the teacher say ‘write this down, you’ll need it someday.’ People may say ‘if I need it someday, why am I getting it now?’ They place it in short term memory for the test, then forget it afterwards. Years later when they do need it, they have to go out and find it again.”  

The concept has been well-received not only by private corporate organizations, and AMC agencies, but also other major commands, the Profession of Arms Center of Excellence, and Headquarters Air Force.

“ELO worked with the Community Action and Information Board on the Bounce program, a teens and tweens resiliency program, was successful and Headquarters Air Force is considering it for Air Force-wide adoption. The program is interactive and been well-received. Our Flight Commanders’ and OIC course, which we developed using Learning Transformation, has also been well-received. The Profession of Arms Center of Excellence is adapting the course we put together and adapting it for a broader audience.”

ELO will host a Learning Symposium in April to show AMC Airmen how Learning Transformation has helped other organizations, both government and private, and how the concept helps AMC overall.

Every change, even changing people’s approach to learning, brings resistance and difficulty. 

“We’re at the beginning of the process and it’s not easy to change,” Greig said. “Sometimes, change is good. If we do learning transformation right, it should reduce the amount of time and effort required in formal training. We can ask ourselves ‘is this effective learning? Is it helping us?’ If not, maybe we can find a better way.”

Greig added learning transformation is good for everyone as it helps reduce duplication and redundancy, and gives some that time back to the Airmen and their families.

“Taking advantage of the technology and changes in learning methodology will help us make learning more effective,” he said. “If the Airmen aren’t spending all their time in training or doing CBTs, they have more time for the mission and also for their families. Isn’t that a win-win?