Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

ADL Initiative Presents Papers, Tutorials, Special Events at I/ITSEC

November 27, 2018

The Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) officially kicked-off on 27 November, with its 2018 theme: “Launching Innovation in Learning:  Ready, Set, Disrupt.” As the name implies, this year’s event witnessed a notable shift from previous years, with more emphasis placed on learning science, learning analytics, and calls for innovation across the defense training and education enterprise.

Mr. Fred Drummond (DASD FE&T) introducing the first Operation Coalition Warrior theme and goal.

Mr. Fred Drummond (DASD FE&T) introducing the first Operation Coalition Warrior theme and goal.

The ADL Initiative regularly participates in I/ITSEC, typically submitting papers, and holding both tutorials and special events. This year, the program sponsored five academic papers, on topics including the Total Learning Architecture (TLA), science and technology acquisition policies, interagency partnerships, blending distributed learning, and xAPI-based analytics into military exercises. The program also sponsored a tutorial about blockchain and its potential applications for learning and development, and ADL Initiative personnel hosted two special events: An interactive series of design thinking workshops around program research priorities and a debate about the viability of online learning for military training and education. The Lab at the Office of Personnel Management collaborated with the ADL Initiative, bringing their expertise in human-centered design to interactive sessions. Finally, the ADL Initiative cosponsored an exhibit booth, in partnership with NATO and the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Education and Training (DASD(FE&T)). At the booth, ADL Initiative partners, other vendors and agency representatives presented a series of demonstrations on low-cost, lightweight technologies, dubbed “Operation Coalition Warrior.”

Dr. Sae Schatz (ADL Initiative) and Mr. Paul Thurkettle (NATO) speak during the first Operation Coalition Warrior session.

Dr. Sae Schatz (ADL Initiative) and Mr. Paul Thurkettle (NATO) speak during the first Operation Coalition Warrior session.

I/ITSEC is the world’s largest modeling, simulation, and training conference. Over 16,000 people attended this year’s conference, and authors presented more than 140 technical papers. I/ITSEC is organized by the National Training and Simulation Association, a subsidiary of the National Defense Industrial Association.

Below is a summary of the papers, tutorials, and special events the ADL Initiative authored, sponsored, or otherwise directly supported for this year’s event.


The ADL Initiative co-authored, presented, and supported several papers at I/ITSEC.

Leveraging Science and Technology to Launch Innovation in Learning - Kendy Vierling, Ph.D. USMC Training and Education Command, Sae Schatz, Ph.D., ADL Initiative, Amy LaFleur, USMC, and Dwight Lyons, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. (Best Paper in the Policy Subcommittee)

Dr. Kendy Vierling presents

Dr. Kendy Vierling (USMC Training and Education Command) presents the paper, Leveraging Science and Technology to Launch Innovation in Learning.

This paper describes current progress, challenges, and opportunities in integrating innovative learning science, instructional methods, and technologies in military environments using specific examples from the Marine Corps Training and Education Command. The paper also discusses current limitations and recommendations for more swiftly adapting emerging science and technology into military training and education programs.

Team Orlando: Community of Progress

  • Dr. JJ Walcutt Ph.D., ADL Initiative, et al.

Team Orlando has become an international icon for interagency and interorganizational collaboration within the modeling, simulation, and training community. This paper captures its history, rationale, and benefits, including its tangible returns on investment. The culmination of data, structure, and vision is intended to inspire and provide justification for similar communities of practice.

Total Learning Architecture: Moving into the Future

  • Brent Smith, ADL Initiative, P. Shane Gallagher, Ph.D., Institute for Defense Analyses, Sae Schatz, Ph.D., ADL Initiative, and Jennifer Walcutt, Ph.D., ADL Initiative

The ADL Initiative is always working on improving the Total Learning Architecture concept. This version of the Total Learning Architecture graphic was created in November 2018. If you have feedback or suggestions, please reach out to the ADL Initiative by clicking the "Contact" tab at the top of the page.

The Total Learning Architecture (TLA), now in its second iteration of development, is a set of internet and software specifications being developed to create the interoperability backbone of this future learning ecosystem. Spiral-2 of the TLA research and development project, carried out in 2018, focused on the identification, incorporation, and evaluation of additional candidate standards and specifications, drawn from recognized international standards and specifications. This paper summarizes the updated state of the TLA Spiral-2 development process, the TLA’s current set of recommended specifications, assessment efforts, and ongoing developmental plans.

Integrating Advanced Distributed Learning into Multinational Exercises

  • Major Niclas Ljung, Major Tohmas Ax, Swedish Armed Forces, Aaron Presnall, Ph.D., Jefferson Institute, and Sae Schatz, Ph.D., ADL Initiative

This paper describes the integration of advanced distributed learning into the Viking 18 exercise, a large-scale, multinational collective training event and the world’s largest multinational civil-military exercise. The e-learning team was able to successfully connect results from the pre-training phase with performance data from the execution phase. Being able to do this at scale with data from multiple sources is expected to open possibilities for learning analytics to get even deeper insights into training needs and training outcomes.

Learning Analytics with an xAPI in a Multinational Military Exercise

  • Aaron Presnall, Ph.D., and Vesna Radivojevic, Jefferson Institute

This paper presents a case study and lessons learned from the implementation of xAPI in the Viking 18 exercise. It also delivers a summary of the resulting Viking 18 learning analytics, including data from e-learning courses matched against quantitative observation data from the exercise management tool, with the aim of gaining insight on the relationships between training and performance against exercise objectives.


The Truth about Blockchains and How They Apply to Training

  • Mike Hernandez, ADL Initiative and Robby Robson, Eduworks

This tutorial covered the history of blockchains, their technical functionality, unique benefits for recording and authenticating records, and the importance of trust in data. Blockchains represent a possible solution for learner records, because they allow granular record keeping, act as shared ledgers, and engender trust in the data.

Mr. Mike Hernandez (ADL Initiative) (left) and Dr. Robby Robson (Eduworks) (right) present the tutorial, The Truth About Blockchains and How They Apply to Training.

Mr. Mike Hernandez (ADL Initiative) (left) and Dr. Robby Robson (Eduworks) (right) present the tutorial, The Truth About Blockchains and How They Apply to Training.

Special Events

“Online Military Training and Education: A Debate!” - Sae Schatz, Ph.D., ADL Initiative

Sae Schatz served as the moderator for this fun, interactive, and dramatic mock debate on the pros and cons of the use of online learning in military education and training. Paul Jesukiewicz, Director, Knowledge Portal, Office of Personnel and Management, provided the “pro” position and James Martin, Ph.D., Dean of Academics, US Army Command and General Staff College, delivered the con. In the end, all parties agreed that the key to successful learning is a compromise between traditional, classroom learning and online education. Schatz wrapped up the discussion by asserting, “In practice, I think we all agreed that a blended, purposeful use of the full spectrum of traditional and digital learning is the winning approach.”

Mr. Paul Jesukiewicz (Office of Personnel and Management), Dr. Sae Schatz (ADL Initiative), and Dr. James Martin (US Army Command and General Staff College)

Left to right: Mr. Paul Jesukiewicz (Office of Personnel and Management), Dr. Sae Schatz (ADL Initiative), and Dr. James Martin (US Army Command and General Staff College) stop for a photo after the special event, Online Military Training and Education: A Debate!

The audience

The audience was interactive and attentive for the Special Event, Online Military Training and Education: A Debate!

Military Innovation for Learning - Brent Smith, ADL Initiative, Jennifer Walcutt Ph.D., ADL Initiative, Shelly Black-Plock, Yet Analytics, Sydney Heimbrock, Office of Personnel Management

This workshop centered around the concept of Human-Centered Design (HCD) and how the Office of Personnel Management’s Lab is using design-thinking methods to solve problems. In the first session, presenters provided an overview of their design research method, which included using qualitative methods of data collection, mainly ethnography, to meet peoples’ real needs. Each subsequent session of the workshop provided insight into different aspects of the ADL Initiative’s work developing education and training solutions for the Future Learning Ecosystem. In each workshop, participants collaborated on an activity based on the HCD approach. Individuals and groups were encouraged to submit proposals for an ADL Initiative Request for Proposal on the final day of the workshop.

Mr. Sean Baker (OPM), Dr. JJ Vogel-Walcutt (ADL Initiative), and Dr. Sydney Heimbrock (OPM)

Left to right: Mr. Sean Baker (OPM), Dr. JJ Vogel-Walcutt (ADL Initiative), and Dr. Sydney Heimbrock (OPM) take a photo before the start of the Focus Event, Military Innovation for Learning.


Participants in the Focus Event, Military Innovation for Learning, took part in activities surrounding the theme of the session.

Intelligent Tutoring Optimization within Future Training Concepts – Jennifer Riley Ph.D., Design Interactive, Fleet Davis, Humanproof, Inc.

ADL Initiative Internal R&D Principal, Jerry Gordon (contractor), joined panel members from the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Army Advanced Training and Simulation Division, and Boeing Global Services to discuss intelligent tutoring optimization within future training concepts.  Panelists discussed goals for intelligent tutoring such as real time remediation capabilities, providing opportunities to demonstrate mastery, and using learner data to meet the user at their point of need.

Future Trends in Artificial Intelligence – Karen Fray, Women in Defense, Central Florida Chapter

Sae Schatz, Ph.D., ADL Initiative director, moderated this special event, which included experts from Adobe, Dell, IBM, and Microsoft. The discussion covered emerging capabilities, unique contemporary examples of AI applications, and pragmatic and ethical concerns surrounding it. Panelists highlighted the use of AI for enhancing elite athletes and automating usability via adaptive user interfaces. They also discussed the responsibility of companies and governments to use AI responsibly, to follow the “FATE” concept of Fairness, Accountability, Transparency, and Ethics.