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By Dolly Rairigh Glass

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Last month, Team Orlando, along with some of their most influential partners, was named to the 2014 Learning! 100 list, celebrating their excellence. These organizations and institutions are leading their fields with learning and training personnel and programs that are “undisputedly among the cream of the crop nationally,” according to Elearning! Magazine.

Elearning! Magazine describes these honors to be unique among others because they have a solid, research-based approach that offers organizations a level playing field despite size. Applicants are evaluated across three criteria: Collaborative Strategies’ Collaboration Index, Darden School’s Learning Culture Index, and overall organizational performance.

Lt. Gen. (Ret) Tom Baptiste, the President and CEO of the National Center for Simulation, works closely with Team Orlando, serving on the Board of Directors. “Orlando is an international gem for eLearning, with collaboration among the military, academia and industry,” Baptiste said. “This award recognizes the benefits of the collaborative spirit with which we carry out our missions to impact human performance by embracing the capabilities of e-learning technologies.”

The NCS provides vital coordination, communication and integration between the Defense simulation commands in Team Orlando and the vast industry, academia, federal, state and local resources that are an integral to ensuring the overall success of Team Orlando’s mission.

Also exciting for Team Orlando was to share this honor with a handful of partner organizations recognized for their individual work including two in the Orlando area: the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative and University of Central Florida Institute for Simulation and Training. Defense Acquisition University, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs and the Dept. of the Air Force were also listed on the top 100.

“We are very honored to be selected as one of the Elearning! ‘Top 40’ Public Sector Organizations,” said Paula Durlach, Acting Director for ADL Initiative. “We received the award specifically for ‘innovations in mobile learning.’ Our Mobile and Technical teams work hand-in-hand, so this award is the result of a lot of hard work by our very talented staff. I’m proud of all of them!”

The UCF IST, led by Director Randy Shumaker, is an internationally recognized research institute that focuses on advancing human-centered modeling and simulation technology to increase the understanding of simulation’s role in training and education.

“For IST faculty, it is very satisfying to receive external recognition for their efforts to develop and disseminate useful products,” Shumaker said. “This recognition as one of the 100 best, as evaluated by professionals in the field, is particularly appreciated.”

IST has been a pioneer in applying mobile technology to important training applications for military, health, and public safety. “A particular focus has been in how to gracefully migrate learning content between devices with various performance characteristic, so that users can take advantage of whatever mobile technology they may have available and developers can decrease once and reuse many times,” Shumaker said.

“Orlando is widely recognized as the epicenter for modeling and simulation in training for DoD and increasingly for other Federal agencies,” added Shumaker. “The fact that three Orlando organizations received similar recognition is a testament to the synergy and interaction that is inherent in Team Orlando.”

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