The Future of Training and Education in the Royal Navy

Hello All!

I am part of a group who are looking to improve the way the Royal Navy structures and goes about its training. This could mean adding more online/webinar courses to adding more exciting means of training that utilises Virtual Reality, simulations and live online teaching. In order to go about this we need to understand your requirements and needs - whether you are an experienced person or a new recruit.

Please, if you have some spare time, could you reply to this thread and tell me your age, years of experience in the RN, what sector you are in and what you think needs to be done to improve the way you are trained (what current training methods do you find unrewarding, boring and sometimes a waste of time?) Our idea for the future is to slowly phase out the boring chalk on board methods of teaching and integrate some exiting methods of teaching to benefit everyone that undergoes training in the Royal Navy.

We understand that an 18 year old new recruits might have different expectations than Royal Marines that have 10 years of experience with regards to training and education so we will be looking to tailor the courses and accreditations to each customers needs.

Thank you for your time, I welcome any questions!


War Hero
Book Reviewer
Is there a PERSEC issue here?
I won't even mention my training as I'm sure everyone will state that it was a complete waste of time.


War Hero
57 years old, 37 years service, RN/RM Recruiter.

The DLP, Learning Hub, or whatever it's called this week, is clunky, takes yonks to load and is not a particularly helpful way to learn stuff in my personal experience. EG: I completed my Divisional Officers Course in about 1993 and trying to bring myself up to date and current using the learning portal is pretty much mission impossible, time consuming and extremely frustrating. For many, it's just a cursory glance through the content, then skip to the questions and take pot luck.

Having seen a demo of Virtual Reality as a training tool, shown by a civilian friend of mine (this demo was about site safety in the construction industry) I was blown away by the training potential the Armed Forces could gain in this sphere. Even a dry subject such as that was totally immersive for me and indeed the young RNR ratings who had a play on the system. Definitely the way ahead, I feel with the young and not so young generation, the possibilities seemed endless and the ability to inject interest, humour, emphasis and interaction was impressive.

Most young people, in my experience get fed up with magic boards and powerpoint - and whilst it's lightyears ahead of the old vugraphs, the VR potential, I think, is huge. This applies even for those yet to join, such as taking enquirers or joiners on a tour of an aircraft carrier, working in different jobs in different parts of ship from lowly F-35 pilot to the pinnacle of the Navy, the ET(ME). The potential is seemingly only limited by the potential lack of imagination or funding of the various recruiting marketeers and the service training providers.


War Hero
Apologies to OP.

It's just that the sentence structure, bold type and the odd spelling looked a bit ... er ... Russian ... strange...


Lantern Swinger
Lots of potential with VR/AR/simulation, especially where real life hands-on training would be dangerous or costly.

Everyone can probably recount a memory of an unenthusiastic lecturer droning on for hours, reading straight off a PowerPoint. This is obviously ineffective for the majority of people, but easy to deliver.

A bit of "chalk and talk" is fine, as long as it is used sparingly or punctuated with more interactive delivery. Even more important is the opportunity for students to apply their knowledge.

I don't think you need a survey to tell you this. The theories of learning, SpLDs etc are well established. The technology is available. A lot of it is covered (albeit briefly) on DTTT nowadays, and there is a great deal of expertise in the civilian sector as well.

We should instead look at what is inhibiting good teaching/learning practice.

It takes time to plan/prep engaging lessons that cater for the needs of all the learners, or complete the necessary CPD to develop/maintain skills, etc. When teaching load is at capacity (as often is the case), chalk and talk can very easily become the default. Most teaching resources aren't used to their full potential and again, time is needed to experiment, network/share good practice or review policy to achieve this.

Attitudes to teaching and learning are also a significant hurdle. Both parties need to be motivated, enthused, engaged etc. Often the more creative (and effective) learning/revision methods are dismissed as "being for schoolchildren"/"patronising" or a waste of time.

Contextualisation - learners need to know why they should bother learning, and not just "it's on the exam".

Don't even get me started on the subject of exams..!
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Virtual reality simulation training has been in use for some time in threshold training for specialist registrar surgeons and radiologists in endovascular and endoscopy role skills. I had a bash before I retired (over nine years ago) and the rapidity of acquisition of fine manipulative skills was absolutely mind blowing. Of course the trainees in this case were already highly motivated being on the first step of the ladder to becoming consultants and hungry for speedy advancement.
I have no idea how much more advanced such training has become but I'm sure it will be pretty impressive.
Perhaps you could link up with a friendly Radiology department in a teaching hospital and pick the brains of the teachers. They usually like showing their toys and teaching regimens to interested laymen, at least they used to. Obviously it is a very specialised field but I'm sure you could pick up some useful operational tips about training regimens.
Other than that I cannot help...I have been out of the loop, deliberately, for some time.
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War Hero
Book Reviewer
The Pongos have VR already, why doesn't the RN? I had a recruiting team from The Rifles 2 years ago and they were using the kit then.
Hi Ballistic,

You had me looking up what that meant! I assure you all we want to do is collect enough feedback in order for it to help build a strategy. I am not saying that improvements will be made straight away, it is an incremental process that will take a lot of time, and benefit the future of the RN so we can modernise it and be a step ahead of our competitors.
Thank you everyone for taking the time to reply, all this is valuable information.
We are at the early stages of market research and will use this information to feed into a larger strategy.

Modernising training and education in the RN will take time (years!) but we have to start from somewhere and it is those recruits that are going through the process and those that have already been through the process that will be the greatest help to us.

If anyone has any questions please feel free to ask, I will try and answer where possible!


War Hero
TrainingMaster - are you, or have you recently connected with the Future Training Unit at HMS Collingwood at all?

At the moment, none of us on here have any indication of your status or background or even intent, hence I suspect the reluctance to engage seriously with your request.

I am very connected with the training networks in the WE and ME engineering branches, and to DSMarE at HMS Sultan. That future of engineering training is my job.

If you'd like to pop me a message upthere where I can possibly ascertain your validity and understand your requirement and transmit that to the forum, then that might be helpful.

PS: I am 56 years old, and next year is my 40th connected with the RN, either serving in uniform or as a defence contractor, and connected to engineering training as a trainee since 1979 and as a deliverer, designer and manager since 1995. There's plenty that has been done, but still plenty to do to continuously improve training, and aspects attached to the delivery of training.



War Hero
I agree - this seems an extremely odd request. Its also nakedly commercial - a company is trying to use posters to get some free research done out of you - or it could be more sinister.

Posters may engage, but I strongly advise that any serving military think very long and hard about the wisdom of discussing with an unknown internet poster about their specific details.


War Hero
I am 60yrs old, left 20 years ago, I was trained, some may say virtually trained but not completely?

Worked on some biggish RN projects as a civy?