"Qua patet Orbis" / "As far as the world stretches."
This has been the slogan of the Netherlands Marine Corps (Korps Mariniers) for more than 350 years. With the introduction of online learning within the Marine Corps, it is still relevant today. Sergeant Major Michael, Head of Bureau E-Learning & Simulation Training, talks about the vision and role of online learning at the Marine Training Center.
“As the Marine Training Center, it is our job to train marines who enable the corps to provide security on and from the sea and to protect everything we hold dear, both today and in the future. To achieve this, we focus on inspiring education and individual training anywhere and anytime."
The Netherlands Marine Corps has three priorities for this:
- Professional training, whereby learning takes place as much as possible in professional practice, whether simulated or not
- Implementing blended learning, comprising online and face-to-face learning
- Establishing a modern learning environment, supported by modern infrastructure, technology and learning resources.
In 2019, the Netherlands Marine Corps implemented the Moodle LMS for newcomers. However, the existing operational units also saw the potential of digital learning, which would require rolling out the learning platform across the entire Corps.
The Netherlands Marine Corps' Totara Partner UP learning came to the conclusion that migrating to Totara's learning platform would better suit their requirements and support their modern blended learning program.
Learning has been continuously evolving within the Netherlands Marine Corps for over 350 years, with digital tools being introduced in recent years. With the help of real-time simulation, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), skills are better taught. With simulation programs such as Virtual Battle Space 3, they can train complicated Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) safely on location.
If the teaching material allows, they offer e-learning modules via the learning platform. This ensures that the learner can absorb this material independently at their chosen time and place, whether that's on the train or at home on the sofa. This e-learning can be distributed to targeted groups of learners using Totara Learn's audiences functionality.
There have also been trials with the online administration of theoretical exams, such as the theory exam of mountain training. As a result of moving certain training activities online, learners come to classroom sessions better prepared and informed, meaning lessons can be shortened and more contact hours are possible with the instructors for practical instruction and practice.
Video about learning within the Korps Mariniers
With Totara Partner UP learning, the Marine Corps have brought in external expertise for their training center in the field of software and system development, didactics and knowledge of implementing an online learning platform and creating e-learning modules.
Migrating from Moodle to Totara Learn means that the Marine Corps can better serve the different target groups, so that every Marine can see the learning modules that are relevant to them. This way, specific cold weather modules can be pushed in time to users who go on winter deployment, for instance.
To date, there are almost 1,000 active users on the platform, with over 3,100 e-learning courses having been completed across 64 courses. 543 hours have been spent on e-learning so far, saving the Marine Corps time on their training to make the learning process more efficient.
“The advantage is that everything that was developed in Moodle is preserved. With the migration to Totara, we will ensure that the operational units in the Netherlands and in the West (Netherlands Antilles) will soon also be able to use the environment for refresher and continuation lessons. This allows us to achieve even more standardization in working methods between the units.”
Appreciation of the Commander of the Armed Forces
The success of the online learning platform was also seen by the Commander of the Armed Forces. With the prestigious COIN he expressed his appreciation for the result and the work involved in developing the Learning Platform for the Marine Corps.