Australian Army Learning Environment – Case Study Example

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The paper “ Australian Army Learning Environment” is a forceful variant of a case study on the military. As times change, economic and social aspects of the society get affected too and the need to adapt to these changes is ever so increasing. The army, and in particular the Australian army, has not been left behind as it considers all available avenues and opportunities for the purpose of training and overall development of their solders (Plifka 2011, p. 5). This is in a bid to do away with the long-held beliefs about who can be awarded competence and by whom.

The concept of ‘ communities of practice’ used to describe groups of individuals that are bound together by similar knowledge and purpose. They effectively provide an environment for individual and organizational learning. In this setting, learning takes place in various ways and as a result, their practices will play a key role in determining the kind of learning that occurs and how it is conducted (Plifka 2011, p. 9). The Australian Army, apart from being a workplace organization, is also a community of practice within which many different communities of practice co-exist (Wegner and Snyder 2000, p.

46). As such, the Australian Army has become a learning environment as much as it is a working environment. Many forms of learning take place within the Australian Army including but not limited to explicit, conceptual, methodological, and procedural leaning, or a complex mix of all. These forms of learning take place within the ‘ learning networks’ context (Wegner and Snyder 2000, p. 48). Dimensions of KnowledgeKnowledge often takes a two-dimension form- explicit or tangible and tactic or intangible- with both dimensions significantly important for effective work performance.

On the same note, knowledge can take two categories, procedural (how to) or conceptual (knowing). By applying these descriptions, tracking knowledge development and forces acting on this development is made possible. Vertical Learning NetworksVertical learning networks within the Australian Army employ linear learning programs on its hierarchical structures (Poell, Chivers, Van der Grogt, and Wildermeersch, 2000, p. 27). Within the Australian Army workplace, vertical learning networks form the backbone of all army training. The knowledge got from this is usually procedural in nature and emphasizes specifics tasks.

When a soldier is recruited, his or her very first tasks will take a more practical form related to the soldier’ s job description. Such tasks would include track driving, clerical tasks, radio operation, and artillery gun deployment. To demonstrate knowledge, Australian Army soldiers need an explicit understanding of procedures in conducting such tasks (Poell et al 2000, p. 28). Learners in this category are described as having no situational experience and solely rely on context-free regulations as guidelines. The Australian Army has gone beyond this and its soldiers are more independent in nature.

This is well described in the Army’ s ethos ‘ I am an Australian Soldier. ’ There are many factors that affect the way the Australian soldiers work including the army’ s high tempo military-related operations, invasive nature of modern media, lack of distinctive battle boundaries, and the invisibility of threat elements (Plifka 2011, p. 17). With the same breath, the nature of work that Australian soldiers perform may change within a matter of hours as an Army mechanic may be deployed to service vehicles during the day and then sent out for patrol in the night.

This coupled with requirements to meet good governance principles in risk management, equity, cultural awareness, and diversity goes on to show that the Australian soldier needs to have a huge knowledge database and have the aptitude to demonstrate expertise in many different areas.

References

Wegner, E., and Snyder, W. (2000). Communities of Practice: The Organisational Frontier Harvard Business Review, 70(1)

Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. Eaglewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Poll, R., Chivers, G., Van der Grogt, F., and Wildermeersch, D. (2000). Learning-Network Theory: Organizing the Dynamic Relationships between Learning and Work. Management Learning. 31(1), 25-49

Billet, S. (2001). Learning in the Workplace: Strategies for Effective Practice. Crows Nest: Allen and Uwin.

Plifka, J. (2011). Blended Learning: The Army’s Future of Education, Training, and Development. Carlisle: US Army War College.

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