TALYA 2025 MOD

We are pleased to share the news that we have recently secured a contract with the Ministry of Defence and delivered the first stages of the project.

The project is being managed with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) to optimise the training effectiveness. Our specific research delivers an Innovative Concept Exploration (ICE).

The primary aim of this project is to deliver an innovative, but quantifiable example of a learning methodology that could enhance the platform for any future Defence Learning Environment.

What is the problem we are trying to solve?

The project team was asked to respond to the question, “In the near future, what would a fully interactive, immersive, data driven, and personalised learning progression tool feel like to experience and how does the impact of this type of learning have implications for a wider Defence audience?”

The Solution

Using our breadth of training, gaming and broadcast production experience, we have developed a prototype and concept for a new enhanced solution called Talya 2025 – a large landscape game that can be played remotely over a 1-day workshop with up to five team members, who do not need to know each other or even work in the same Service.

It presents a complex challenge that transfers knowledge, facilitates problem-solving and improves analytical confidence. It applies social cognitive learning theory, scenario immersion, virtual collaborative learning, and emotional engagement, to improve the user experience when being challenged to digest new ways of thinking and learning.

The immersion techniques rely on the creation of fictional characters constantly flexing the operational dynamics of the scenario and the techniques required by learners to analyse these people’s potential interventions, delivered using video drama and documentary interventions.

Impact

The project was widely recognised to have had a significant impact on a Defence-wide community:

  • The insights gained through the development and design process of Talya 2025 with regard to Defence training design processes and delivery infrastructure were incorporated in new development projects in all three services;

  • The training effectiveness of the Talya 2025 approach, triggered requests for bespoke versions from groups within all three services

  • The type of data capture and analysis recommended for this style of training exercise, informed those involved in training of new metric applications

  • Limetools was commissioned subsequently as a result of the Talya 2025 project to create a demonstrator for learning designers and policy developers within the MOD.

Outcomes

Participants were positive about the methods, materials and potential applicability of the core learning methods of Talya 2025, to a Defence-wide community of learners. We explored remote learning futures, applicability, opportunity, unique training methods, scenario development, confidence and technology, in interviews with them.

Part of the reported confidence in execution from participants was due to the realism associated with the scenario; all participants agreed that the scenario was professional with a realistic storyline that engaged them from the beginning.

Using video, mobile phone texts and full game immersion, secured an overwhelmingly positive response, with most participants confidently reporting never having experienced this style of online collaborative gaming in the military. Participants felt this style of training would increase the capacity growth of softer skills, like internal teamwork and confidence leading the team.

Participants noted that they anticipate a more remote-working future and, as such, training like this is vital to productive development of the future workforce.

Conclusion

It is evident that there is an immediate opportunity within Defence to exploit the potential of this transmedia enabled interactive methodology to improve training design, impact, accessibility and applicability - stakeholders from all three Services have already reached out to ask for tailored versions of Talya 2025.

Remote collaborative experiential learning online is relatively new to the MOD. Further investment in the Talya 2025 research would promote and support greater use of modern design techniques, providing added value by raising a broader awareness of recent technology-enabled pedagogic techniques and increasing understanding of how to maximise the value of remote collaborative learning.

The project team continue to work on further prototype developments, ranging from talent recruitment to management of career progression assessment; from developing remote collaborative decision-making to life-long learning related to emotional intelligence and mental health development.

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