In some of our last few posts on FedUC, we’ve focused on distance learning in the federal government and the ways that distance learning and Unified Communications (UC) are helping government agencies and entities better serve constituents.

In our first post, we discussed four Polycom-powered distance learning programs that were recognized with FGDLA Awards from the Federal Government Distance Learning Association (FGDLA) and took a closer look at two of the award-winning distance learning programs from the World Bank and the Defense Acquisition University (DAU). In our second post, we examined the award-winning distance learning program being operated by the National Parks Service (NPS).

Now we’d like to discuss another innovative FGDLA Award-winning program by the Army National Guard. The Army National Guard is a partner with the Active Army and the Army Reserves and functions to fulfill the country’s military needs by providing properly trained and equipped units, available for prompt mobilization for war, national emergency, or as otherwise needed.

The Army National Guard has units across the nation and is responsible for educating and training them all to ensure they’re ready to protect the nation. Unfortunately, with tight budgets, it’s becoming impractical to send National Guard units to a centralized location for training.

Much like the DAU and World Bank, the Army National Guard implemented their Distributed Learning (DL) Program to use information technology to develop and deliver instructional content to units regardless of their location. The ARNG DL Program improves the readiness of units through the flexible delivery of standardized individual and collective training at the point of need.

However, there is a unique challenge that the Army National Guard faces that the World Bank and DAU do not. The National Guard has to ensure that returning soldiers are prepared to reenter the private sector workforce and society once their tours of duty are over.

To help train units in the skills and abilities that they’ll need in the workforce and to help them with their own personal advancement, the Army National Guard is offering specifically tailored classes via the DL Program. In addition, they’re also offering other valuable and necessary services, such as drug and alcohol counseling and help for significant military issues, such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) via video. These video classes and services are designed to help soldiers adapt back to life outside of the National Guard and overcome any issues they may experience during the transition.

The Army National Guard Distributed Learning Program is just another example of why distance learning is so mission-critical to federal agencies and entities today. By embracing video teleconferencing (VTC) and distance learning, the federal government can deliver needed educational content and services to citizens and constituents regardless of their location, enable them to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule, and increase access to information without the need for expensive and unnecessary travel.

Congratulations again to the World Bank, Army National Guard, National Parks Service and the Defense Acquisition University. Not only are these agencies innovative award winners, but they’re also driving the adoption of technologies that are making our government more effective and efficient.