USA — Online Site Uses Games to Hone Acquisition Skills

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2010 — The Defense Acqui­si­tion Uni­ver­si­ty has launched a casu­al gam­ing web­site that’s designed to hone the skills of DOD’s acqui­si­tion and logis­tics work force.
The site cur­rent­ly offers 13 games –- with most fea­tur­ing two-dimen­sion­al graph­ics — that focus on con­tract­ing issues and the detec­tion of fraud, Dr. Ali­cia Sanchez, a for­mer research sci­en­tist who serves as DAU’s “games czar,” said dur­ing a Dec. 8 “DOD-Live” Blog­gers round­table.

The games, she said, are designed to bol­ster job per­for­mance through the “rein­force­ment of core com­pe­ten­cies.” Sanchez not­ed that expe­ri­ence marks the dif­fer­ence between novice and expert per­son­nel — and that some of that expe­ri­ence might be gained through online games. The games also offer pro­cure­ment pro­fes­sion­als “just-in-time” train­ing, she said, in addi­tion to pre-deploy­ment train­ing for con­tin­gency con­trac­tors who must trav­el far and wide in their duties.

DAU plans to release anoth­er, more-com­plex, three-dimen­sion­al game in Feb­ru­ary, Sanchez said. How­ev­er, she added, the orga­ni­za­tion sees val­ue in design­ing for the min­i­mum train­ing require­ment. “We’re real­ly focused on what is our min­i­mum lev­el of fideli­ty required to tar­get the learn­ing objec­tives,” Sanchez said. “And we’ve real­ly tried to focus on what’s our low­est-cost, low­est-time­line solu­tion for those.”

Sanchez said plans call for releas­ing new games – includ­ing some of high­er com­plex­i­ty — on a month­ly basis. In the future “we’re going to be able to start incor­po­rat­ing types of games that focus on very com­plex skills,” she said, “but our focus to date has been on core com­pe­ten­cies.” Sanchez said she hopes to inter­est 10,000 pro­cure­ment employ­ees to take the vol­un­tary online train­ing over the next six months.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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