The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy announced recently that the entire suite of Structured Self-Development levels, or SSD, is going through a maintenance phase in order to bring a better NCO professional development product to the field.
“We never stop when it comes to ensuring we provide the force with the best possible NCOES experience and that includes all of our distance learning courses as well,” Command Sgt. Maj. Rory Malloy, USASMA commandant said. “Earlier this year we improved the user experience of those enrolled in the Advanced Leaders Course-Common Core, and now we have set our focus on doing the same for structured self-development.”
Currently the entire SSD suite is going through an update.
“All SSD I and SSD V lessons are in a maintenance phase in order to update course materials with current references and a new user-friendly graphics user interface,” Sgt. Maj. Andy Tafua, director of Structured Self-Development said. “It will have a new look and feel, something we believe those enrolled will appreciate.”
Tafua said that SSD III and SSD IV have already incorporated the new GUI and will be introduced to the force after the first of the year.
“SSD III will have seven new lessons added to the course and SSD IV will have 25 new lessons,” he said adding that SSD V went through a limited user test in September and that they are currently addressing all identified deficiencies and hope to have the course ready for release by the end of 2014.
The new GUI updates replaces the older Flash-based interface which was slow and buggy, said Jason Henderson of the Academy’s Interactive Multimedia Instruction section which developed the new interface.
“The new interface is fast, stable and only uses Flash when absolutely required,” he said. “New navigation reduces mouse travel and allows for a more user-friendly experience.”
Some of the improvements with the new interface include: Student progress is displayed using a progress bar and page numbers; references are linked and take Soldiers to the exact page where content is located; and lessons now have a full-featured audio control which allows Soldiers to pause, play, or scrub to the exact point in the audio clip they desire.
“The new GUI has been tested on Mac OS 10.7, and Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP; Internet Explorer 11, 10, 9, 8; Firefox 25-17; Safari 6, 5; Chrome 29-23; Opera 12,” Henderson said noting that the Army Learning Management System may limit the browsers and operating systems accessing their system. “There are many other new features that enhance the learning experience and Soldiers will reap the benefits by having a much better learning experience.”
Note: MILPER MESSAGE 13-343, STRUCTURED SELF DEVELOPMENT (SSD) SEMI-CENTRALIZED PROMOTIONS, ISSUED: [25 NOV 13]. This message applies to Active Army and the USAR and AGR. Effective 1 Jan 14 completion of SSD-1 is a promotion eligibility requirement for consideration to the rank of SGT. On or about 2 Dec 13, SSD-1 will no longer qualify Soldiers for earning 16 promotion points for course completion and will be removed from the eMILPO correspondence course table. Commanders must ensure SPCs and CPLs complete SSD-1 before recommending them for promotion board appearance or command list integration (CLI) to SGT effective with the promotion board cycle for 1 Jan 14. On or about 1 Jan 14, all promotable SPC and CPL who have not completed SSD-1 will be automatically removed from the SGT recommended list (as ineligible). https://www.milsuite.mil/book/docs/DOC-125732 The number to the SSD Help Desk is 1-800-275-2872 opt. 5