Connect with Haji Kamal

Monday, April 26th, 2010

This online role-play addresses issues of rapport and negotiation. It’s a self-paced adaptation of the classroom Critical Incident Scenarios that we’ve been creating. Because it’s being used in the Senior Leader Course at the Fort Huachuca NCO Academy, it features a Sergeant advising his Lieutenant on how best to proceed through the encounter.

There are 12 ways through the role-play, but only two ways to win it. Can you find one of them? (Click the image to begin the activity in a new window).

Screenshot from Connect with Haji Kamal activity

Feedback on the “Connect with Haji Kamal” prototype has been positive. Instructors at the Fort Huachuca NCO Academy assign it as homework to prepare students for the culture lesson, which focuses on rapport, communication, and negotiation skills. In discussing what they like about the activity, the instructors have cited its “ease of use,” “that it prompted the majority of the discussion,” and that it “brought forth real world experiences from the Soldiers.”

When students were asked, at the completion of the homework activity, whether they were looking forward to the next day’s culture lesson, 70% responded positively. And 65% said they might use the “Haji Kamal” activity as part of culture training for their own units.

Soldier Story – “Risk and Rapport”

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

This is another Soldier Story captured during NATO Forces training. Listen to a Canadian Major describe how taking risk is often a key part of building rapport.

Soldier Story – “The Hand”

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Here’s one of the Soldier Stories that we captured at the NATO Forces training that we participated in. Listen to a Norwegian Colonel describe becoming “a popsicle” the first time his counterpart, a brigadier general, picked up his hand. 

Kinection activity incorporated into NCO Senior Leader Course

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

On Jan. 8, 2010, Small Group Leaders at the Fort Huachuca NCO Academy incorporated an activity designed by Kinection in their Senior Leader Course to highly positive feedback.

The activity, designed to help students learn to and recognize the value in perspective-taking and rapport-building, was a “choose your own adventure” scenario with multiple paths to outcomes. The story was closely based on a real-life critical incident in Afghanistan.  The activity was designed to take about an hour, half spent running the scenario and half spent  debriefing the experience.  Because of how well the material fit with their Lesson Plan, the facilitators decided to use the scenario and debrief as a summative activity, tying together content that had been presented throughout the day.

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Veterans’ Day

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

By Ed Lavieri

We recently celebrated our nation’s 233rd birthday. Throughout our history, there has been one constant – that men and women are willing to defend our way of life through military service and the willingness to give their life to the same. Each day, the nearly three million men and women of the active and reserve forces serve overseas, in war zones, on and under the sea, are separated from their families, and endure other sacrifices that only they understand.

Kinection has had the fortune of meeting many military personnel this year and is dedicated to providing training solutions that make a difference. Through this exposure, our entire team has come to appreciate the sacrifices military personnel make and the work they do. You are truly all American heroes and we salute you.

Happy Veterans’ Day.

Conference helps Kinection build 3D development skills

Friday, October 30th, 2009

By Scott Meadows

We’re developing highly interactive 3D tools, so it was natural for us to go to the Oct. 27-30 Unity3D Unite conference in San Francisco. Unity3D is a multiplatform game development tool designed to make it easier to create and publish 3D games.

Unity does take time to learn, but its “unified” approach to development really shines. We were inspired by talking with groups that had published full titles using teams of only two to four people.

Kinection has been using Unity3D for about two years. We started using it to prototype new approaches to using 3D environments for basic language instruction. For us, Unity has proven to be a good way to create 3D immersive environments that can be deployed on the web, desktop, or iPhone. This helps us meet our goal of developing a wrap-around environment of highly accessible learning tools.

Kinection meets with NCO academies

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

By Ed Lavieri

The Army’s Professional Military Education (PME) training pipelines offer us a way to reach the entire service with training in cross-cultural communication, regional expertise, and language.

To find out more about how to reach enlisted soldiers through the PME system, we talked with the Commandants and Command Sergeants Major of several NCO academies. This gave us useful insights into the training and curriculum development processes.

We also talked with the Dean of Academics at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA), which is responsible for the common core of the enlisted PME curriculum. This discussion helped us understand the enlisted training system as well as policies and procedures that affect training.

We’re optimistic about working with the USASMA in the future.

Fort Riley soldiers tell us about their cross-cultural needs

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

By Ed Lavieri

Cathy, Brian, and I took a trip to Fort Riley this month for data collection. We met with over 60 soldiers ranging from corporals to LT colonels. Our sessions consisted of small group question and answers. During our visit, we were provided insights into their recent deployment experiences including cultural perspectives, roles, duties, and tasks requiring cross-culture competencies, and training preferences.

This data collection effort mirrored our previous trips to Fort Carson and Fort Leonard Wood. At Fort Riley, we received some key insights regarding the processing time at Kuwait for Soldiers headed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Additional eye-openers for us included the roles the Chaplain Corps, cultural liaisons, and interpreters play with respect to language and culture.

It was a positive experience talking with the men and women at Fort Riley. We appreciate their taking the time to provide us with their insights, perspectives, and opinions.

Kinection staff now certified as ethical researchers through CITI

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

By Brian Knoll

The Kinection team completed Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) certification training this month. CITI provides education that ensures that researchers know how to treat research subjects ethically.

CITI training covers protection of human research subjects, good clinical practice, health information privacy and security, and responsible conduct for researchers.

Our certification is part of our commitment to the ethical research that guides the design of our tools.

Cross-cultural SBIR projects featured at ARI meeting

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

By Doug Nelson

On June 3-4, 2009, Kinection attended the U.S. Army Research Institute’s (ARI) Intercultural Assessment and Training Tools Interim Project Review meeting in Crystal City, Virginia. During this two-day event, companies with intercultural SBIRs through ARI shared their project status and discussed opportunities for collaboration. Projects that were represented included:

  • Kinection’s “Cross-Cultural Competence Toolkit”
  • 361 Interactive’s “Measuring Learning and Development in Cross-Cultural Competence“
  • eCrossCulture’s “Social Perspective Taking” and “Decoding Nonverbal Cues in Cross-Cultural Settings”
  • vCom 3D’s “Cultural Context for Distributed Simulations”
  • CHI Systems’ “CulturePad: Modeling Culturally Accurate Behavior in Multiplayer Game Environments”
  • Charles River Analytics’ “CAATE: Culturally Aware Agents for Training Environments”
  • ARI-Leavenworth’s “Training Tools to Improve the Teaching and Coaching Skills of Military Advisors”

This informative two day session, facilitated by Dr. Allison Abbe of ARI, gave participants an increased understanding of the content of other culture-related SBIRs.

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