Victory Starts Here: What I Learned from the Army’s Digital Training Management System

Who are the best-trained people on earth?

It was late one Thursday night when I started to ponder this question. Was it the renowned team of retail associates at Nordstroms—or maybe the Geniuses at every Apple Store? Perhaps it’s the cadre of cashiers at Chic-Fil-A that unfailingly answer, “My pleasure.” At Lessonly, we’ve had the chance to serve and work with hundreds of the best business trainers and managers on earth. But when I asked Google this question, ‘Who are the best-trained people on earth?” there was one resounding answer—the United States military. In fact, 19 out of the first 20 search results referred to members of various military units; the other one made a case for astronauts. So I decided to find out what I could learn about military training.

Between articles, stories, books, podcasts, and more about military training, I soon stumbled upon the U.S. Army’s own learning management system (LMS). It’s called the DTMS—the digital training management system. And after watching just a couple YouTube videos about it (here and here), I was quickly picking up best practices for building a training management system that delivers world-class results.

In that spirit, here are 7 quotes from the U.S. Army that should inspire all of us to build better training programs:

“For all army leaders and training managers, there’s a simpler, more-efficient way…”

Training can feel burdensome—but it doesn’t have to be. It’s reassuring to me that some of the best military leaders and trainers on earth are looking to make training management easier—and they’re turning to technology as the answer. It should be easier for commanders to manage unit training—and that’s a worthwhile goal for corporate training as well. A great training platform should be easy-to-use and effective at accomplishing the goal. If it’s not—it’s time for new training plan.

“…to plan, prepare, execute, and assess unit training.”

Training becomes easier when it’s broken into smaller, more manageable phases. While the Army training promise is that DTMS helps plan, prepare, execute, and assess, it may be helpful to break some of those steps down a bit more in order to be more actionable. At Lessonly, we’ve done this with the 6-step, Better Work Training Method: Assess, Plan, Build, Learn, Practice, Perform. It’s easy to see the parallels with Army training—and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Training isn’t magic, it’s a repeatable process, and these methods are a great starting point.

“DTMS’ strength is its ability to minimize the time commanders spend on the science of training.”

A great learning platform should multiply the impact of a leader, not bog them down in dashboards, strange file types, and lots of instructional design. Learning is a science, but a great training software should be come purpose-built to help learners succeed. The more that a training platform can reduce the resistance to better outcomes by saving leaders time and money, while increasing efficiency, they better off the entire organization will be.

“DTMS also captures a soldier’s entire training history from hire to retire.”

Throughout a military career, an individual soldier will go through many mandatory training events. It’s important to have a full picture of their path through training—and business is no exception. By understanding which employees have learned, practiced, and mastered certain skills, it’s easier to understand the impact of learning. Let’s say Nick is a talented sales rep. If we know that Nick has taken training courses X, Y, & Z, and as a result, he performs better than his peers, that helps us make actionable decisions about preparing the rest of the team for future success.

“…it is easier to develop training exercises and track the training progress of units and individual soldiers.”

Assessing is part of both the Army training model and Lessonly’s Better Work Training Method. And the easiest way to evaluate success is through hard-and-fast data. A great training software should facilitate the collection and analysis of meaningful learning data. For Army leaders, keeping track of their soldiers’ progress means denoting a unit training schedule or a soldier’s training records. In a business learning context, the parallel idea might be certain training events, courses, or certifications for certain employees or even entire teams. But all the tracking in the world isn’t helpful without insights on the data. When choosing an enterprise training software, consider the ease of data tracking and reporting, and confirm that robust options are available. That will ensure that you get insights on your learning efforts and have the data needed to continuously improve.

“It will help you prepare your unit to successfully complete any mission.”

Really, this is a mission statement for any trainer, training plan, and training platform. The most intricate and thoughtful corporate learning experience on earth could be a bust if it doesn’t help teammates complete their missions—from sales to customer service and everything in between. The Army is convinced that their digital training management system makes it easier to prepare a team to complete their mission when life and death are on the line. That’s a resounding vote of confidence in the power of training and a reminder of just how much impact learning can have.

“Victory starts here”

This army training platform left me feeling encouraged and inspired about the power of training—and how technology can help one of the largest and best-trained teams on earth plan, prepare, execute, and assess. Looking to learn more about building a digital training management system for your own company or team? Take a demo of Lessonly today.

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The Benefits of Training Tracking Software: Easier Decision Making with Real-Time Insights

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