OCTOBER 8, 2021 – After months of meetings, teleconferences, meticulous content conversion and a 55-day long pilot effort, the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training (CNATT) saw classroom instruction begin in its first Ready, Relevant Learning (RRL)-modernized course, the “A” school for Aviation Maintenance Administrationmen (AZ), recently in Naval Air Station Meridian, Mississippi.
RRL has been pegged as CNATT’s “top priority” by its leadership, and if you visit the RRL office suite in CNATT headquarters, you will see huge whiteboards covered with text and color-coded boxes that indicate where all naval aviation courses are in their varying stages of RRL modernization. The AZ course was the first one to be modernized, and early feedback from students and instructors has been positive, according to CNATT RRL officials.
The Navy’s RRL goal is to modernize its institutional training system for all Sailors and Marines, from the “when,” “how,” and “where” aspects of training. According to Justin Hall, CNATT’s RRL program manager, the CNATT RRL team collaborated with many different stakeholders in the Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) to reach this point, just for the AZ course, with many other courses following a similar path in the future.
According to MyNavyHR’s online general description, AZ’s perform a variety of clerical, administrative, and managerial duties necessary to keep aircraft maintenance activities running efficiently. The rating requires close communication with all other aviation maintenance ratings.
Sam Maulden, the RRL team’s instructional systems specialist, said for many years up until the course was recently modernized through RRL, AZ students had to sit through presentations that had little to no interactivity, slideshow after slideshow. Aviation Maintenance Administrationman First Class Adam Bissen, leading petty officer/course supervisor, added that before RRL, a lot of “sea stories” were told in the classroom about the systems they use out in the fleet to aid with instruction.
Flash forward to present day, through the infusion of technology and feedback from AZ subject-matter experts like Bissen at the Meridian learning site during the content conversion stage of the process, there is much more virtual simulation interactivity with the administrative systems AZ students will use out in the fleet on a day-to-day basis.
“Now, not only can we tell these “sea stories,” but we can then transition into the virtual simulator to show them and have them experience examples of what we use when performing our duties,” Bissen said. “They [the students of class number 21020] have shown a lot of enthusiasm towards the course and the significance of knowing they are pioneering the future of Naval aviation by becoming the first aviation rate/military occupation specialty to graduate from the curriculum.”
“The additional technology updates of Ready, Relevant Learning have modernized our training to include an advanced experience [to students] prior to arriving at their first commands,” Chief Aviation Maintenance Administrationman Travis Dow, pilot course instructor in Meridian, said. “The opportunity to start experiencing these functions early are giving the students an advantage to being able to understand the job requirements they’ll be assigned early on in their careers.”
As for the CNATT RRL team, the future outlook of RRL modernization is “exciting” for the remaining aviation courses on the schedule, given lessons learned from the AZ course modernization and the partnerships that were built and strengthened.
“I believe this is the best thing to happen to Naval aviation ratings in the NAE in decades,” Master Chief Petty Officer Aaron Carroll, RRL lead, said. “There are a lot of changes that will directly impact our fleet’s Sailors in a positive way, and I can’t be more excited to be a part of that, and I think our team feels the same way.”
Story by Jerron Barnett
Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training