The Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative is a government program reporting to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Education and Training (DASD(FE&T)), under the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness (ASD(R)).
The ADL Initiative bridges across Defense and other Federal agencies to encourage collaboration, facilitate interoperability, and promote best practices for using distributed learning to provide the highest-quality education, training, informal learning, and just-in-time support; tailored to individual needs and delivered cost-effectively, anytime and anywhere, to increase readiness, save resources, and facilitate interorganizational collaboration.
The ADL Initiative originated as a DoD-wide program, and Defense personnel have been–and remain–its core constituents. However, with the policy documents published in the late 1990s, the ADL Initiative received direction to also serve the entire Federal workforce as well as global partners, industry, and academia. In short, the ADL Initiative’s stakeholders include the US Defense and security sector, Federal government, coalition military partners, and other distributed learning professionals from industry, professional societies, and academic institutions.
To meet its mission, the ADL Initiative serves as a “thought leader” for forward-looking distributed learning topics within the Department of Defense (DoD), other national and worldwide government agencies, and the greater professional community. This work involves the curation (i.e., collection, validation, synthesis, maintenance, and dissemination) of relevant requirements, analysis of emerging targets of opportunity (relevant to learning science and learning technologies), generation of corresponding strategic roadmaps, and stewardship of associated policy guidance. Effective thought leadership also includes the cultivation of stakeholder and leadership buy-in for the advocated strategies, plans, and policies.
This Program Element’s (PE# 0603769D8Z) work falls into three interrelated categories: (1) Modernization, (2) Documentation, and (3) Coordination. The “modernization” work involves Advanced Technology Development in technical areas such as e-learning, mobile learning, learner modeling and analytics, and software interoperability. These efforts inform the PE’s “documentation” work, including the authoring and upkeep of technical guidance and policy documents, such as DoD Instruction 1322.26 (“Distributed Learning”) and software interoperability specifications. Finally, the documentation work drives “coordination” efforts, which consist of implementation support and interagency/interorganizational coordination.
The ADL Initiative saves time and money for the DoD (and Federal government) by creating and implementing technology interoperability specifications and stewarding associated policy, by identifying and eliminating inter-Service and interagency duplications of effort, and by matching stakeholders with needs to those with solutions. The ADL Initiative improves DoD/Federal training and education effectiveness and efficiency by identifying, developing, and supporting the implementation of emerging learning science and technologies. The ADL Initiative helps strengthen multinational DoD ties and build partner capacity via NATO, TTCP, PfPC, and bilateral agreements with other nations’ distributed learning proponents.
The ADL Initiative pursues three broad lines of effort (LOEs):
Originally, the ADL Initiative Program Element (PE) number was 0603769SE. This PE designates the ADL Initiative as an “Advanced Technology Development” program, reporting to the Defense Human Resources Agency. However, beginning in FY17, the ADL Initiative’s PE realigned to Washington Headquarters Services. Correspondingly, the PE number changed to 0603769D8Z.