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Online Site Uses Games to Hone Acquisition Skills

Matthew Mientka, Secretary of Defense Public Affairs

WASHINGTON - 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.

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