Learning Environment

The Veteran Service Officer (VSO) DD214 Training Pilot Program is is for instructing learners in the process of assisting veterans with obtaining a Record of Military Service (DD214) . 

The program is developed for Service Officers within the Department of California Disabled American Veterans. 

 

Record of Military Service (DD214)

Needs Assessment

Why DD214 Training?

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Why DD214 Training?

In order for a veteran to receive benefits based on their time in service, they must acquire a DD form 214 from the National Archives and Records Administration. 


Although videos like this one from the US National Archives and Records Administration say that it is quick and easy, the acquisition process can be a bit more difficult and presents a significant barrier for many veterans who apply to receiving VA Benefits (Schwille et al, 2019). 

Veteran organizations like the California Department of Disabled American Veterans (DAV) assist in training VSOs to seek new opportunities, while assisting veterans through Congress and within their local communities.

The purpose of this presentation is to provide an overview of the Learning Environment for the DD214 training. Reviewing the environment will help instructors evaluate more ways that VSOs can initially discover and translate veteran’s needs, while assisting clients in a more diverse, equitable, inclusive, accessible, and human-conscious atmosphere.
 

Veteran Service Officer (VSO)

Who Are the Learners?

The learners are Disabled American Veteran (DAV) Service Officers. Most Veteran Service Officers (VSOs) are prior service military who have a service-connected disability, and the majority of VSOs identify as men.

 Although,  the learners taking this course are in different periods of development that range from early to late adulthood and are in what Piaget termed the formal operational stage, their chronological age is not as much of a relevant factor in determining an individual's psychological growth (Santrock, 2018, pp. 12, 20).

The average DAV Service Officer ages are from 40-75 years, with the majority of our learners in what  John Santrock (2018), would say is "Erikson’s seventh and eighth stages of development," where individuals focus on generativity versus stagnation, and identity vs despair (p. 19). VSO learners are also familiar with working in team environments and can also be influenced by their peers. Those with strong relationships may network in a smaller circle of peers, whose attitude and level of engagement could influence the learner.

Learners have various experiences following a course “block” of training and executing procedures (Lasher, 2021). They also have mixed experiences in adapting existing and synthesizing information, and some learners have a wide range of leadership and management skills.

Evaluating the learners' prior knowledge is critical for ensuring that the training content for each VSO applicant is appropriate (Ambrose et al., 2012; Mayer, 2011). For example, each learners must have some basic knowledge of how to utilize a computer, navigate a computer browser, and locate the DAV training website.

Learners can often doubt their abilities, so the second essential motivational characteristic is self-efficacy or the learner's confidence in their ability to complete specific tasks. (Seli, 2020; Mayer, 2011) Self-efficacy plays a significant role in influencing a learner's decision to engage in any process. 

Value is the second most important characteristic to understand about learners, because a learner's choice of completing a task solely based on intrinsic or extrinsic value can change the learner’s level of involvement in the task (Mayer, 2011). Motivation levels often change depending on the learner. 

Goal orientation is tool the LMS promotes for VSO learners. The participants must opt-in to this closed training. The training is meant to align with their goals as a VSO and promotes outreach and service to more veterans. Therefore the learners work harder to learn and master the training because their motivation is based on their professional goal orientation (Mayer, 2021, p. 41).

The pilot training is only for VSOs, and it will be limited to members of the DAV community. Learners who can not attend in-person must have higher Prior Knowledge (PK) for using an online Learning Management System (LMS). Otherwise they will not be as motivated to complete the training. The DAV is a military-based organization the members have had some of the same work issues of power, equity, and inclusion that exist at the VA and in the military. 

VSO Learners 

Who are the Learners?

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There is limited awareness of gender-specific health resources among Veteran Women, so they do not receive adequate gender-specific physical and psychological healthcare. (Lawson, 2020). Underrepresented veterans such as women and ethnic minorities have been seeking mental health care from the VA at a steadily growing rate.
 

Learning Environment (LE)

Learning Environment

What is the Learning Environment?

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Assessment
Learners
Lessons
Design
Review

What 's the Environment?

The Learning Environment is closed, formal, and asynchronous, because it is only for DAV members who have completed the training to become a Service Officer. It is available through a Learning Manangement System so that the content can be delivered to a VSO learner anywhere in the world.

The environment will also include the option for learners to receive the asynchronous training in-person at a DAV Chapter facility. The online training is still delivered via the web. Futhermore, learners can engage with other learners and VSO Trainers who are there to facilitate the use of the training stations.

VSO Trainers aslo assist other VSO with assitance operation the computer, the browser, or the DD214 Mock Tool application. Trainers also observe, post-interview, and evaluate learners progress for the purpose of collecting data about the training. The data is then used to modify and adjust the training and the environment to fit the learner's needs.

 

Learning Management System (LMS)

What is the LMS?

Wavoto is the initial Learning Management System (LMS) we were planning to use for the pilot program. The website you are currently viewing is built on the Wavoto platform. It is a Content Managemt System designed with learning tools for education and training for corporations, organizations, entrepreneurs, and small businesses. We recently added Canvas by Instructure to the closed training environment. The platform makes it easier maintain user engagement and integrate all media into the entire training workflow. 

 

 

Learning Management

What are Canvas & Wavoto?

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Environment
 

Learning Design & Technology (LDT)

Learning Design

How is the Learning Designed?

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Figure 1. The training consists of five modules and a summative assessment module with an activity assessment.

How is Learning Designed?

Considering how the client will be able to access the course content, receive the training, and deliver the training back to the veteran is the most important concern. The Learners are trained on guiding veterans through an online process to obtain and submit personal and government documents.

Human-Centered Design will be combined with the current Learning-Centered Design model utilized in the formal DAV VSO training. A formal DAV learning environment consists of desks with seats that are spaced properly for wheelchair accessibility, an instructor, a whiteboard, and or overhead projector screen (Oblinger, 2006).
 
The space is designed for learners to receive messages from DAV representatives and learners to communicate directly with instructors. Instructors can facilitate interaction but mostly between the asynchronous instruction and the student. 

The seating can be rearranged to accommodate peer interaction at a DAV facility but is almost always set for formal instruction. Traditional DAV Classrooms are asynchronous instructor-led environments that have a  more Learner-Centered Design (Tailored, 1950; Martin & Lasher, 2021).



Similar to when an instructor is presenting in-person, Human-Centered Design (HCD) will be applied to increase social activity, but the focus remains on formal learning, which also provides space for social support, emotional functioning, physical functioning, and cognitive effectiveness (Oblinger, 2006). 
 

After Action Review (AAR)

What are the Issues and Results?

The training process is observed and reviewed throughout the pilot program with several areas of consideration. While the overall learning outcomes are the primary focus, it is important to consider the backgrounds, identities, disabilities, and limitations of each learning. 

 
The DAV is a military-based organization and many of the members have had some of the same work issues of power, equity, and inclusion that exist at the VA and in the military. There is limited awareness of gender-specific health resources among Veteran Women, so they do not receive adequate gender-specific physical and psychological healthcare. (Lawson, 2020). 

Underrepresented veterans such as women and ethnic minorities have been seeking mental health care from the VA at a steadily growing rate. Approximately 44% of women and more than 20% of ethnic minorities are currently seeking physical and mental health care services, and some are battling Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Military Sexual Truama (MST) (Davis et al, 2014; Kimerling et al., 2015). 

Researchers found that the root causes of (PTSD) may differ in Veteran Women (VW) due to Military Sexual Trauma (MST). According to a VA Office of Data Governance and Analytics (2017), about 15% of women served in combat, compared with 35% of men.

 The Universal Design of Learning (UDL) will accommodate a wide range of individual preferences and abilities. The use of the design will be easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level. 

The Human-Centered Design (HCD) communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities. It minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions, and can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue (Principles, n.d.). 

The organization has recently adopted nationwide mandated title IX training, workplace harassment training, and ethics training. It has also added various staff and team-building exercises and events to improve the organizational culture. Disabilities vary among most Veterans, so VSOs are accustomed to working with people of various abilities. 

How is the Training Evaluated?
The New World Kirkpatrick Model (NWKM) will assist in demonstrating the value of the curriculum to the stakeholders and provide feedback to improve the program itself. Similar to the KM framework, the NWKM consists of the same four levels; (4) Results, (3) Behavior, (2) Learning, and (1) Reaction (Kirkpatrick & Kirkpatrick, 2016).
What is the Mock Tool Application?
The Mock Tool is a Non-Government affiliated, computer-based form of the DD214 application. It asks many of the same questions found on the DD Form 214 application and more. 

After Action Review

What are the Issues and Results?

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If you or someone you know is struggling with any thoughts of harming yourself or ethemselves. Please call 1-800-273-8255. If you are a Veteran of the Military call 800-273-8255 and Press 1 International numbers vary, so click the button below.

OpenCounseling.com

Conclusion

The most important concern among stakeholders is encouraging VSOs to actively engage veteran clients who attempt to apply for benefits without acquiring a DD214. When learners have access to an environment suitable for learning that is inclusive and equitable, then the learning outcomes will most likely be met  (National, n.d.).  

Especially if the training benefits the learning, by providing challenging goals that peak the interest of the learner, while allowing space for autonomy.  Another reason why it is important to allow space for VSOs to freely express their identities. The learners who apply to this program are Veteran Service Officers, who are seeking better ways to engage and facilitate the support of veterans and their families.

The creation of a new program has become paramount, so there are many factors that can enhance or complicate the training. While developing the training course, four areas of learning were heavily considered and the are listed below: 
  1. The learner's prior knowledge and identity are considered. 
  2. The development of learning outcomes that are measurable to determine the effectiveness of the training. 
  3. The creation of  a mock tool application as a learning activity and assessment tool. 
  4. The learning environment must be equitable, accessible, and inclusive to VSO learners.

A hybrid learning model is also being considered, which would dramatically change some of the learning design. It will also change the type of media as well as the role of the instructor. Overall, the expected impact of the VSO DD214 Training program is that it will assist thousands of veterans in obtaining military records as well as VA Healthcare Benefits, so a one year pilot program will be created to test and measure the results.