News | April 1, 2020

Language center students, instructors go the distance with distance learning

By 37th Training Wing Public Affairs Defense Language Institute English Language Center

Despite the changes and preventative measures that are part of COVID-19, students from the 637th Training Group, also known as the Defense Language Institute English Language Center, or DLIELC, have innovated and transferred to a digital learning environment during the past two weeks.
 

The current COVID-19 pandemic generated rapid growth and innovation at DLIELC, with the team being afforded the opportunity to test the implementation of open source and government technologies to continue their mission of language education, despite geographical separation for faculty and students. Until two weeks ago, all of DLIELC’s academic instruction was conducted in a classroom setting using printed books. Distance learning had never been part of the DLIELC framework, until now.

“DLIELC has the high honor of being deemed mission essential and continues to successfully execute its international and security cooperation missions during this pandemic,” said Kouji Gillis, 637th TRG commander. “While doing so, our number one priority will continue to be protecting the health and safety of our people.”

At this time, nearly all of DLIELC’s instructors are working remotely. Despite the required teleworking, instructors continue to execute the entirety of the instructional mission by using innovation and technology.

Distance learning for DLIELC students was at about 10 percent effectiveness March 16 and just four days later, DLIELC recorded about 80 percent effectiveness. The week of March 23, instructors started phasing in teleworking and by March 25, all instructors were fully capable of and encouraged to conduct instruction completely from their homes.

DLIELC distance learning utilizes various technologies and software, such as Zoom, Schoology, Google Classroom, Quizziz, WhatsApp, Facebook and other resources, to keep the schoolhouse operating. The transition for DLIELC was quick and effective.

“The secret to our high level of success is attributed to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the team,” said Lt. Col. Geoffrey Brasse, 332nd Training Squadron commander. “Finding the right mix was about having our classroom, curriculum, and testing leaders feed us the right answer and supporting them with resources. What would have taken us two years in a traditional scenario, we accomplished in two weeks.”

The 332nd Training Squadron’s instructors are responsible for the resident training mission for all U.S. Army students and nearly 2,500 international students from more than 100 countries.

The unit continues to refine and improve the academic instruction with daily feedback sessions from all stakeholders, to include students, foreign partners and members of other squadrons. The long-term goal is to use the lessons learned to drive the unit into a sustainable modern academic environment capable of handling any future mission.

“Challenging times offer the opportunity to nurture development and success,” said Gillis. “The newly implemented DLIELC distance learning program serves as an example of successful teamwork and dedication to the Air Force mission. Flexibility remains the key to air power!”

The latest information on JBSA’s COVID-19 response and prevention can be found at https://www.jbsa.mil/Information/CDC-Novel-Coronavirus-Response-Support/.