MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --
Always on the lookout for inventive ways to equip service members with the tools necessary to win in a high-end fight, the Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education recently partnered with the Air Force Culture and Language Center to employ AFCLC’s Culture Guide mobile app as part of its enlisted professional military education curricula.
AFCLC’s Culture Guide app currently contains three certificate courses, but it was the Introduction to Russia course that initially caught the eye of Senior Master Sgt. Anisa Haney, superintendent of Barnes Center EPME Academic Affairs.
“I saw the articles about the intro to China and intro to Russia courses on the Air Force Portal, and that’s when we took a hard look at what information the courses contained and if we could use them in our curricula,” Haney said. “We ask our students to do research into China and Russia as part of the strategic competition mission. We provide a list of resources for them to consider, but our students are young. Most of these students are at the Airman Leadership School level. These students may not be able to understand some strategic documents. They need information in easily digestible formats – small chunks of information that give them a base-level knowledge of why we’re discussing a particular topic.”
AFCLC’s Culture Guide app comprises certificate courses, a video library and Expeditionary Culture Field Guides. The courses move in step with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr.’s strategic initiative, Accelerate Change or Lose, outlining four Action Orders and focusing on people, decision-making, competition and adapting to change.
The Barnes Center’s inclusion of AFCLC’s Culture Guide mobile app in the “Additional Resources” section of its Mission Lab modules for its three enlisted PME courses should equate to reaching about 27,000 in-residence personnel.
“I didn’t want to recreate the wheel when it’s already being done and done well,” Haney said. “[The app] is an amazingly vetted source we can now put into the hands of our students and instructors.”
Senior Master Sgt. Amy Wade, commandant, Airman Leadership School, 633rd Force Support Squadron, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, said she took the Introduction to China and Introduction to Russia courses as part of her Mission Lab module and enjoyed the app’s content.
“The information from the app is perfect for background knowledge,” Wade said. “The students come to these courses with at least some background knowledge, but everyone benefits from more information. The app is convenient and goes everywhere with you. No matter where I was, I could take a quiz, read and learn on the go. It got me through my course so quickly, and doing things in small pockets of time is important to this new generation.”
Wade also said that looking forward, using AFCLC’s Culture Guide mobile app in the Barnes Center curricula will give enlisted service members more access to cultural education at their fingertips.
“Culture is everywhere, but what happens if you haven’t had the opportunity to prep before leaving for a new assignment?” Wade questioned. “This gives us something to help us represent ourselves appropriately. You can immerse yourself in the culture while on the go and see how you fit in at that moment. There’s a lot to like about this opportunity.”
AFCLC offers several other educational opportunities for enlisted service members, including two Community College of the Air Force courses (Introduction to Culture and Cross-Cultural Communication) and three certificate courses on the Culture Guide mobile app (Developing Cross-Cultural Competence, Introduction to China and Introduction to Russia).
“We’ve taken culture education and delivered it through a mobile app completely untethered from government IT systems and platforms, which has never been done before,” AFCLC Director Howard Ward said. “We take pride in being the Air Force’s ‘Global Classroom.’ To deliver content and courses at enterprise scale and ‘accelerate-change-or-lose’ velocity, AFCLC’s mobile app modernizes learning for strategic competition by putting the Global Classroom right in your pocket, which is especially great for an expeditionary force with a global mission. Additionally, with our own content and accessible distribution, it is now very easy for individual Airmen and organizations to incorporate culture education into their mission sets.”
The app is available to all military service members and civilians through the App Store and Google Play and is safe for Department of Defense mobile devices.
For more information about AFCLC’s educational opportunities, visit https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/AFCLC.