When Seaman Damyon Black arrived to Operations Specialist (OS) “A” School at Naval Station Great Lakes, he was uncertain how the program’s new curriculum would affect his ability to succeed in training. What he discovered was the Navy’s renewed investment in training and thoughtful instruction from experienced Sailors, the combination of which would challenge him and better prepare him for his job in the fleet.
That renewed investment is called Ready, Relevant Learning (RRL). RRL evolved from the acknowledgement that previous methods of training used by the Navy were failing to capitalize on current and emerging technologies that could lead to better trained Sailors.
RRL was designed as an integral part of Sailor 2025, a program to modernize personnel management and training systems to more effectively recruit, develop, manage, reward and retain the next generation of Sailors. With this new approach, the Navy plans to create career-long learning continuums that provide Sailors with the right amount of training at the exact point of need from E-1 through E-9.
“RRL means Ready, Relevant Learning…” said Operations Specialist 2nd Class Eric Estes, an instructor at OS “A” School. “It’s the right training at the right time in the right way.”
OS “A” School is the first location to transform the Navy’s vision of coupling the timing of training with actual deckplate needs into functional curriculum.
“You start getting more comfortable with the material,” said Black. “I think that really helps you be ready immediately when you are out there in the fleet.”
For OSs, RRL also means learning on state-of-the-art simulators and earning qualifications in applications like the Voyage Management System (VMS) that they can carry with them to the fleet.
OSs used to get VMS training as a separate course of instruction after they showed up at their first command. As a result, they would report having only limited knowledge of how to operate the system.
“One of the big benefits to the fleet are the OS students getting qualified in VMS before reporting aboard,” said Estes. “It’s a two-week course, which is now fully implemented into the OS ‘A’ School.”
For the Navy, RRL means a better educated, highly skilled fleet. Rather than losing experienced Sailors to further education, new Sailors will head to their first commands knowing exactly what they need to in order to operate skillfully and effectively.
“The biggest thing I hope they take away is leaving here and being a more valued team member the minute they step aboard their ship,” said Chief Operations Specialist James Rodney, OS A-School leading chief petty officer. “One of the greatest benefits of this training is that Sailors are actually physically doing it – building that repetition, that muscle memory.”
At its heart, RRL is about increased capability. When RRL is eventually utilized in training Navy-wide, the hope is increased capability among personnel and the Navy’s increased capability to maintain maritime superiority and win the high-end fight.