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JBSA News
NEWS | Oct. 17, 2022

Basic Military Training digitizes curriculum

By Joe Gangemi 37th Training Wing Public Affairs

The days of carrying around your black portfolio with bulky study materials are over. On Sept. 13, 2022, Basic Military Training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland completed the transition to a digital campus by issuing over 500 tablets to Airmen in their first week of training.  

With that final distribution, all eight BMT line squadrons are now delivering curriculum to Airmen and Guardians using an adaptive learning application and background software, which enables a small information technology team to manage thousands of devices with the MaaS 360 program. 

BMT completed a two-year, $4 million initiative to connect the campus and enable digital delivery of the curriculum. This expansion of communications infrastructure lays the foundation for a BMT Smart Campus and supports the 750 mobile devices currently used by military training instructors and staff, as well as the 7,000 tablets for trainee use. 

The 737th Training Group is leveraging technology by partnering with an industry education professional, Memre.ai (Cerego), to create an adaptive learning experience to replace the workbook approach to learning. BMT has digitized all nine of its formal course in preparation for becoming a digital campus. 

Basic Military Training instructors and trainees use their electronic tablets as a hands-on learning tool that makes retaining information and training objectives more impactful.  

“Using my iPad allows me to access checklists for evaluations, teachable moments and reviewing regulations,” said Master Sgt. John Davis, Military Training Instructor, 737th Training Group. “I was a 'clipboard MTI' and have adapted to use technology to make my life easier.” 

The curriculum subject matter experts included a variety of graphics and videos to create effective learning modules for the trainees.  Knowledge checks and assessments in the form of review questions at the end of each module were developed to enhance the learning retention process and allow instructors to monitor students’ performance in real time.  

 This new environment provides individualized training applications for trainees, instructors, and curriculum developers, and enables agile content development and delivery, including direct two-way communication between instructors and students. 

Using a cognitive science-based algorithm and a creative, unique learning path suited to Airmen and Guardians' needs, Memre.ai (Cerego) enables Airmen and Guardians the ability to gain the basic knowledge, mindset, skills and abilities manifested in BMT.  

“They grew up in a digital world since they can remember. Even in high school, they learn online. Young adults learn differently because they have a huge desire to consume info quicker and we have the obligation to do that for them,” said Jim Steele, Operations Flight Chief, 737th TRG. “Transforming the way we learn is one of the Secretary of the Air Force’s top priorities for BMT. It all starts at BMT, and we have an obligation to bring that to them in the classroom.” 

Memre.ai (Cerego) is like having a personal tutor, who knows all of the subjects the students are learning, how much progress they are making in each area and what would be best to review at any given moment in order to build strong and stable memories.  

It makes learning more personal and allows the trainees to study anytime, anywhere while on campus. It empowers the trainees to retain knowledge in a way that they are custom to. The tablets have transformed the way trainees receive and retain material, and trainee feedback continues to provide new ideas on tablet use that will be used to continue the transformation.