SAIC executive says COVID-19 'highlighted' improved training capabilities

By Marjorie Censer / November 30, 2020 at 1:29 PM

The training industry was already responding to rapid technological change before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, but the ongoing crisis that has kept many working from home is increasing the focus, according to a Science Applications International Corp. executive.

In an interview with Inside Defense earlier this month, Bob Kleinhample, SAIC's training and mission solutions vice president, said COVID-19 has made clear the importance of "training to the point of need," or offering training where and when it is required.

Customers who were ready to embrace training in new ways "didn't lose a beat," he said. But, "everyone over time started moving toward adopting it."

Kleinhample pointed to the company's work with the Air Force on a pilot training program. Even before COVID, he said, the service was seeking to accelerate the pilot training pipeline.

SAIC has worked to offer greater immersion, including letting pilots train in their dorm rooms, according to Kleinhample.

While he noted that some agencies are eager to get back to face-to-face training, Kleinhample said he thinks this type of training will continue to be augmented by virtual options.

He also said more independent training options allow for different speeds.

"You’re no longer bound by cohorts," Kleinhample said. "People can learn at their own pace."