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The NSO Establishes Distributed Learning Department

Combining Forces of ADL and METT will Help Meet NATO’s Future Education & Individual Training Requirements

By LCDR Jeffrey Fallat, USA-N, Department Director DL

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic presents significant challenges to the in-residence model of education and training at the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO). As the Alliance requires educated and trained personnel to meet operational commitments, new processes must be developed that enables the NSO to increase its capability to deliver courses outside traditional in residence methods. Recognizing the increasingly important roles to be played by Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) and Mobile Education and Training Teams (METT) during these unprecedented times, the NSO established the Distributed Learning Department on 01 May 20, combining the former ADL and METT departments into one Academic department.

The term “Distributed Learning” refers to the delivery of standardized training, education or professional development using multiple media and technologies – when and where it is needed. It may involve both real time (synchronous) and non-real time (asynchronous) learner-instructor interaction, or it may involve self-paced asynchronous learner instruction without benefit of access to an instructor. Furthermore, the dispatch of instructors from a training establishment to a unit or another location to conduct training also falls within the realm of Distributed Learning. Since entering an in-residence academic pause on 13 Mar 20, the current situation presented an opportunity to formally bring together these well-established entities at NSO into a cohesive team operating under the Distributed Learning umbrella.

In the immediate future, the NSO will lean into the opportunity to develop non-resident education, with a focus on eLearning. The volume of Distributed Learning (eLearning and METTs) will increase and provide the NSO and the Alliance with requisite capabilities. Likewise, the NSO envisions additional METT course delivery offerings, thereby improving force health protection support to the Alliance.

The NSO’s Distributed Learning Department, leveraging the synergies of ADL and METT capabilities, will help to ensure that the NSO is ideally postured to fulfil Alliance education and training requirements now and into the future.

For further information on ADL and METT opportunities, please visit the NATO School Academics webpage at