Second Air Force moves technical training into the 21st century

US Air Force | Feb. 7, 2023

By Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Davis

Student looking down at an iPad while sitting at a desk.
Basic Military Training trainees from the 433rd Training Squadron use their iPads as a hands-on learning tool during a block of instruction that covers the Law of War at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, July 21, 2022. BMT partnered with Cerego, which creates an adaptive learning experience that replaces the workbook approach to learning. (U.S. Air Force photo by Joe Gangemi)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE: Second Air Force is looking to the future and moving toward a sixth-generation learning environment across its five technical training wings.

Currently, classrooms, field training and curriculums are structured for 20th century warfare in a 21st century world.

“Today's learners come into the Air Force fully immersed in the digital world, but the architecture of technical training remains rooted in the past,” said Brian Davis, Second Air Force chief training officer.

Responsible for 93% of technical training in the Air Force, Second Air Force is spearheading plans to drive the transformation of technical training. In a new sixth-generation learning environment, flexible and tailored content will be offered to meet different learning preferences, styles and experience levels.

Adaptable learning pathways, versus rigid training pipelines, will improve training for Airmen and keep up with evolving modern warfare needs.

“Pipelines are a thing of the past. Sixth-generation learning environment offers learning pathways,” said Lindsey Fredman, Air Force Career Development Academy director.

Students will be offered training and education content through visual, auditory, written or kinesthetic methods. Airmen with different education levels and experiences can learn with more freedom and opportunities, arriving at the same end goal but possibly not in unison.

362nd TRS Innovation Expo 2022
A civilian instructor uses a virtual reality system at an innovation expo at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, July 28, 2022. The 362nd Training Squadron hosted the expo to allow innovators to experience this technology. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Katie McKee)

Five total Airmen in photo, with one facing toward the camera while he briefs the other four. They are all in military uniform.
Tech. Sgt. James May, center, 319th Training Squadron PACER FORGE cadre, guides trainees through the first phase of the Primary Agile Combat Employment Range, Forward Operations Readiness General Exercise, at Joint Base San Antonio-Chapman Training Annex, Texas, Oct. 26, 2022. PACER FORGE is a physically demanding 36-hour, scenario-based exercise that tests trainees’ teamwork, discipline, and problem-solving skills before graduating Basic Military Training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Thomas Coney)

U.S. Air Force Gen. David Allvin, Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, participates in a critical care air transport demonstration inside the Keesler Medical Center at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Nov. 18, 2022.
Gen. David Allvin, vice chief of staff of the Air Force, participates in a critical care air transport demonstration inside the Keesler Medical Center at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., Nov. 18, 2022. Allvin toured Keesler to become more familiar with the base's technical training innovations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

“So yes, there is still structure, but each Airman or Guardian has the control to be able to access their learning environment anytime, anywhere,” said Fredman. “Whether that's through audiobooks, videos, computer based training, augmented reality or virtual reality equipment, and more. We're trying to expand not only the way we teach, but content delivery methods as well.”

These transformations put Airmen more in control of their education with round-the-clock access to learning content, both inside and outside of their career fields, to expand multi-capable Airmen opportunities.

Developing a sixth-generation learning environment requires a holistic approach that touches every part of life at a training wing. It starts with Wi-Fi to provide seamless connectivity across the learning ecosystem from dormitories to classrooms.

“Human performance will be critical in optimizing learning ability, from nutrition, to resiliency, to sleep hygiene and proper physical fitness, we want to make lasting impacts on their lifestyle,” said Davis. “Infrastructure and technology modernization, as well as faculty development are also essential parts of the sixth-generation learning environment.”

Second Air Force will work with each training wing to identify target areas of improvement for its 16,300 technical training students across 265 career fields.

“It's time for us to transform how we develop and deliver the Airmen and Guardians we need for America’s Air and Space Forces,” said Maj. Gen. Michele Edmondson, Second Air Force commander. “We want to focus on optimizing the learning ability of the digitally literate generation to build enduring advantages in every Airman and Guardian.”