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In FY 2007, the Army's Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) asked RAND Arroyo Center to assess the performance of The Army Distributed Learning Program (TADLP) and provide options for improving DL performance. The study found that TADLP, despite high expectations, to date has had a relatively narrow focus, and has provided, at best, a modest benefit to unit readiness. The program also lacked a structured process for evaluation and improvement. The research concluded that major changes would be required to meet increasing DL requirements within the Army. For the near term, the study identified several initiatives that would increase the impact of the Army's interactive multimedia instruction (IMI) program and improve both the quality of the product and the efficiency and responsiveness of the process. These initiatives include adding flexibility to the courseware acquisition strategy, ensuring that sufficient resources are dedicated per training hour, undertaking systematic process improvements to reduce IMI cycle times for production, increasing local participation in IMI production and contract production, and instituting a program-level IMI evaluation component to support TADLP improvements. The study also made three broader recommendations to increase TADLP's impact and cost-effectiveness over the longer term: (1) employ blended learning options to significantly expand DL's role, (2) integrate TADLP with Knowledge Management (KM), and (3) enhance key management functions to achieve TADLP transformation. Key management functions include (a) development of a program-level evaluation component, (b) development of concepts, plans, and directives for TADLP transformation, (c) implementation of a spiral development approach, and (d) performance of the combat developer role.

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The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Army and conducted by the RAND Arroyo Center.

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