By Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Electrical) 2nd Class (SW) Valerie Garcia
SAN DIEGO - Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Pacific (EWTGPAC) begins a new style of training, reducing the risk of injuring Sailors and damaging equipment at Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado.

Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) curriculum allows Sailors to navigate through a simulated craft on a computer based program.

The SLEP craft is the Navy’s newest design for the original legacy style of the LCAC. The advanced SLEP design, moves in line with the Navy’s progress toward “smart ships”, which provide more efficient and cost-effective operations.

“Not only is there a simulated hands-on skill set developed by the student through seeing, hearing, and doing, but there is no risk to damaging “real” equipment during training,” said Jane Jasper, Senior Instructional Designer. “The computer based training provides an opportunity to integrate new technology with more traditional instructor-led courses to help provide rapid and effective training for operational readiness.”

A training specialist with Naval Aviation (NAVAIR), Rick Porter, has been the liaison between the civilian contractors and the subject matter experts to make certain the curriculum design incorporates all the necessary material.

“It [the SLEP curriculum design] will take a higher level of skill and motivation, but this new course will save money on fuel, prevent equipment loss, and eliminate safety issues [during training],” said Porter.

On the program, Sailors can tag-out systems, troubleshoot problems and “virtually” remove parts using simulated tools. They will move their “virtual self” around the craft, where they can climb onto different decks and see all the actual components on the SLEP craft.

“Sailors in today’s Navy are more computer savvy and they are growing more accustomed to sitting in front of a computer to learn,” said Gas Turbine System Technician (Mechanical) 2nd Class Devern Brewley, an instructor at the LCAC maintenance course. “The next generation of Sailor coming into the Navy can easily adapt and better understand the self-paced curriculum material because they grew up with Nintendo Systems in their homes.”

In the future, the LCAC division at EWTGPAC will integrate this type of learning design into all of its classrooms, including Craftmaster, Engineer, and Navigator training. The LCAC maintenance classrooms are moving into the final stages of the curriculum development and expect to implement the new course by the beginning of 2009.
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