Navy extends distance-learning software contract for civilian and Defense students

Navy extends distance-learning software contract for civilian and Defense students

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

Having extended a computer-based training software contract through September, Navy officials will deploy the software to 200,000 far-flung Marines and sailors.

The Chief of Naval Education and Training organization (CNET) bought 350 course titles for $500,000 from NetG of Naperville, Ill., said Dave Anderson, a computer specialist at the Naval Education and Training Professional Development and Technology Center in Pensacola, Fla.

Participating in these courses will benefit sailors and Navy and Marines Corps civilians both professionally and personally,' said Capt. Mary McAdams, commanding officer at the Pensacola center.

Notwithstanding the Army National Guard's distance-learning project, 'this could eventually turn into the largest distance-learning project worldwide,' with as many as 1 million civilian and military users, Anderson said.

CNET officials originally signed a contract last August with NetG for a four-month pilot after considering CBT Systems of San Francisco, which signed a site license with the Army, Anderson said. Two extensions to the pilot, which Enterprise Training Solutions Inc. of Ardsley, N.Y., helped to set up, have carried the program through this year.

When you compare the cost to classroom training, we're getting a huge return on investment,' Anderson said. Users can train on a wide range of software, including Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp. and Unix applications, he said. Users can become Microsoft-certified systems engineers, too.

The distance-learning program also lets managers track the certification and testing that their users have completed, Anderson said. Assessment testing lets the software hone in on areas where the user is weak, he said.

Users can go to specific course sections while they work on applications. 'If you're doing Hypertext Markup Language programming and don't understand how to build tables, you can go into a course and look at the tables section to find out how to do it,' Anderson said.

Nightmare updates

CNET officials, who created a customized front end for the NetG software, have deployed the software on three servers and have sent nine sets of CD-ROMs out to the Atlantic and Pacific fleets' ships, Anderson said.

He conceded that the initiative is 'an implementation and management nightmare. ' Managing updates will be difficult. There are so many different networks. We're working some of the issues with NetG.'

Users have also criticized NetG's user interface, which Anderson called minor complaints. CNET officials have received a lot of positive responses from users who want to know why it took the service so long to deploy the software and how they can support it, he said.

In some ways, computer-based training is a double-edged sword because sailors may be more likely to leave the military for an industry job, Anderson said. But ultimately CNET officials think that the training is good for morale, he said.

CNET's Web site is at

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