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338th Training Squadron Seizes Their Window of Opportunity

  • Published
  • AF T3

AGREEMENT TYPE: Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA)

PARTNER NAME: University of Central Florida

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. – Following the Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown’s Accelerate Change or Lose strategic approach, the Joint Warfighting Concept focuses on moving forward with digital, low cost, high tech, warfighting capabilities.

The 338th Training Squadron’s Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the University of Central Florida allows the unit to work with graduate students at the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, UCF’s Master of Science in Interactive Entertainment program.

As a part of their capstone projects, FIEA students partner with a community organization to create a game or simulation directly supporting that organization’s mission. This process, called gamification, is becoming increasingly used in educational settings and allows students to learn in an interactive and immersive way.

“We now have a formal vehicle for information exchange, training, development and advancements with a nationally recognized leader in cyber academia,” said Glenn Dennison, 338th TRS training development element chief. “That’s one of the biggest reasons why we decided to partner with UCF, because of what they bring to our mission and fight when it comes to training our students.”

Partnerships like this play an important role in force development by allowing squadrons to bring ideas for student training to life. “Working with the military simulation community gives our FIEA students the unique opportunity to see the real-world applications of gamification software,” said Erik Sand, University of Central Florida FIEA director of strategic partnerships. “We are excited to be a part of developing new technologies and continuing to share the latest technology.”

Gamification also allows the training squadron to cost effectively modernize education and training by eliminating the added expense of purchasing surplus materials for students to practice with.

From year to year, the 338th TRS’s project proposals submitted to the FIEA program vary depending on mission requirements. Dennison and his team look across the existing curriculum to find out where their students could benefit from gamification.

The 338th TRS specializes in training students in two main pipelines, Network Systems Operations and Radio Frequency Transmissions and supports several other supplemental courses. Last year, FIEA developed a custom computer game that the 338th TRS used to teach students the big picture of how to build, patch and activate key parts of cables and ports.

“Each student we spoke to said that the game helped them understand and learn how to build the cables a lot faster,” said Dennison. “When they moved to the next lesson, they saw it all come together.”

The partnership has allowed for increased information sharing and networking opportunities for both parties.