Online Army Training Uses Simulation to Teach Courses

U.S. Army Medical Department

When it comes to Occupational Training there is nothing more powerful than a well-designed virtual simulation, which is why the United States Army Medical Department Center and School recently joined forces with MTS Technologies to create an engaging and effective virtual world for promoting the role of Patient Administrative Specialist, one of its key occupational specialties. The objective was to convert a four-week classroom-based course into a self-paced and easy to digest online option that would capture a typical day in the life of a Patient Administrative Specialist with two primary purposes in mind: Recruiting and Training.

In designing an immersive engaging and hands-on experience MTS has created a virtual environment that enables perspective specialists to actually spend time in the role becoming part of the experience by interacting with the screen rather than clicking through a series of slides. Equally important, it can be used for different target audiences in a variety of contexts.

Here’s a brief look at how this simulation works: “Well hello welcome to the Patient Administration Division or PAD, I am Sergeant Jensen, a Patient Administrative Specialist, I’m going to show you around so you can see what a typical day looks like around the PAD. I have a lot of work to do today so let’s get started.” “Hi, I just got married in PCSed here I need to register my wife Avery and have my medical records from my last station shipped here. Can you help me?” “Sure no problem, let’s take care of your wife first. Then I can take you to the Release of Information Office to request your records. Ma’am, May I please see your ID card I need to gather some information.”

Simulations such as a day-in-the-life have become increasingly popular for training both future and current workers in a number of academic disciplines and occupational categories. To begin with, these simulations pave the way for repetitive practice in an authentic and risk-free virtual environment, where trainees can apply new knowledge and make mission critical decisions while identifying obstacles, considering multiple perspectives, and rehearsing various responses. And by incorporating immediate feedback as well as engaging in enjoyable scenarios, simulations actually stimulate the brain in a way that increases motivation and engagement, which results in far better knowledge recall and retrieval over time. It’s no wonder then that the research continues to show how truly effective these experiential training tools are with learners often performing as well as seasoned professionals.

The United States Army Medical Department Center and School (AMEDD C&S) needed an online course to train Patient Administrative Specialist (PAS), one of the military’s occupational specialties.

The course needed to be designed to increase awareness for recruiting purposes. The position of a PAS means one must be able to perform administrative procedures relating to admission and disposition of patients. To fully understand all of the duties required, AMEDD felt that creating a “Day in the Life” would be the best way to increase awareness. They wanted the course to be highly engaging while providing a simple demonstration.

How Does the Army Use Online Training?

AMEDD partnered with MTS Technologies (MTS) to create the virtual world simulation. The course MTS designed provided two areas ofOnline Training Simulations Within the Army focus including a new PAS recruitment tool and promoting the importance of the PAS role. This self-paced course designed in a virtual world makes students become part of the experience. Students must interact with the screen rather than just clicking to the next screen. As they progress through the course, the selected scenario plays out.

Responses to the course indicate that it has been well-received and hit the target. The Army has turned to MTS Technologies for work in general courses such as anatomy and physiology and extending beyond their medical division for courses such as utilizing augmented reality to train helicopter mechanics.