BUILDING COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE THROUGH COLLABORATIVE LEARNING AT NATO SCHOOL
KeywordsScience and knowledge
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In 2013 NATO School, Oberammergau, is celebrating its 60th Anniversary. Within the last 60 years NATO School established to be the global leader in multinational military education and individual training. In addition to the resident programme and the mobile training teams NATO School offers, the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Office developed for the last decade a solid online programme enhancing the NATO School's academic curricula. NATO School's Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Office is not only enriching NATO School's course offers, it supports NATO/PfP ADL efforts through a online collaborative platform and two learning management systems(LMS). Currently NATO School has over 37 ADL courses online, which are supporting various resident courses. The idea is the offer NATO School students a basic information about the course topic to allow them to inform themselves prior attending a NATO School course. ADL for pre-learning purposes, as used at NATO School, can be a very useful tool in support of the resident courses. This allows the course director and the lectures to presume certain knowledge on each course topic and address the audience on more detailed issues of the topic. In addition to that ADL must not be seen as a strict pre-learning tool, ADL offers a widespread possibility in individual training and learning, e.g. instructor lead course preparation, e-readings and the building of communities of practise. By using ADL in different ways the Course Director can focus on the specials needs of his audience and tailor not only the ADL course, but especially the resident course to the needs and wishes of the students. Besides the pre-learning ADL courses, NATO School's ADL Office produced also courses of broader interest, which give students supplementary information on current NATO topics, such as e.g. Terrorism, Trafficking in Human Beings, Rules of Engagement, Procurement and Contracting. ADL at NATO School proved to be not only an additional learning tool which is offered to students it managed to prove that collaborative learning is possible within a NATO / PfP training and education environment. By linking the different efforts, the learner gets most out of the NATO School experience and gets best possibly prepared for the the every day tasks. This article will discuss how NATO School's ADL Office managed to establish the idea of collaborative learning at NATO School and how the curricula of a institution can be enhanced through various e-Learning tools. The power of global collaboration, which finds it start at the ADL Office at NATO School Oberammergau, proves that within a world of rapid changing threats and challenges on different levels and through different acteurs time and place independent training and teaching is inevitable. The idea of the knowledge community e-NATO, which has its beginnings in the ADL collaboration through the PfP Consortium, will drive future developments within that area and will continue to enhance and drive the training, tailored to the needs of each individual soldier, seaman of airman.