MADISON, WI — The University of Wisconsin System and the Wisconsin Technical College System sealed a partnership agreement Monday (January 10) with the United States Department of Defense (DoD) to collaboratively develop, demonstrate, and evaluate the next generation of learning technologies that enable web-based learning, also called “distributed learning.”

University of Wisconsin System President Katharine C. Lyall and Wisconsin Technical College System State Director Edward Chin were joined by representatives of the Department of Defense at a signing ceremony at 3:00 p.m. in Room 235 of The Pyle Center, 702 Langdon Street, Madison.

The “Memorandum of Agreement” establishes a “Wisconsin Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Co-Laboratory (Co-Lab)” to serve as a focal point for academia and the workforce in Internet-based distributed learning. The Wisconsin Co-Lab will be housed at the Pyle Center, a state-of-the-art, wired conference facility operated by UW-Extension on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. It is the Defense Department’s first ADL Co-Lab in an academic environment.

The Defense Department is a major consumer in the education arena, spending approximately $14 Billion per year on classroom education for its 3 million active duty and reserve members of the military service and civilian personnel around the world.

The DoD wants to expand its educational opportunities and enhance performance for the nation’s service men and women by offering “anytime, anywhere” on-line education and training.

Both the UW System and Technical College System have been developing web-based instruction to serve the education and training needs of the students served by both systems.

The Wisconsin ADL Co-Lab will support collaboration, especially in the area of testing, evaluation and demonstration of tools and technologies to enhance teaching and learning over the Internet.

“This partnership means that Wisconsin will have more influence in shaping the future on-line learning environment,” said UW System President Lyall. “The benefits will extend to students who will have greater access to education and training and to businesses which are increasingly turning to on-line learning to train employees for higher performance,” Lyall added, “This is a natural fit given the history of the UW-Extension as the oldest distance learning institution in the nation.”

“Collaborating on these projects gives both the UW System and Technical College System the unique opportunity to be major players in this highly competitive, ever-evolving world of distributed learning,” said WTCS State Director Edward Chin.

Michael Parmentier, director of Readiness and Training in the Office of the Secretary of Defense said, “We believe it is in the Department’s, the Nation’s and the taxpayers’ best interests to establish, operate and support the Wisconsin ADL Co-Lab Node for Advanced Distributed Learning.”

Parmentier added that Secretary of Defense William Cohen’s vision for the 21st Century learning environments is “one in which Advanced Distributed Learning technologies and methodologies will provide access to the highest quality education and training that can be tailored to individual needs and delivered cost-effectively, whenever and wherever it is required.”

DoD signatories to the agreement are Parmentier and Paul Jesukiewicz, director of the Advanced Distributed Learning Co-Laboratory located at the Institute for Defense Analyses in Alexandria, Virginia. Also attending from DoD were Royal Thomas

Goodden, director of Institutional Learning in the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Readiness and Donald Brock Johnson, senior program analyst for the Readiness and Training Directorate in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

The ADL strategy is to:

  • Pursue emerging, network-based technologies and learning
  • Software and content that are accessible, adaptable, interoperable, durable, and reusable
  • Foster the development of an open architecture based upon standards adopted by industry
  • Lower development costs
  • Promote widespread collaboration to find common solutions to common problems to satisfy common needs
  • Enhance performance with next-generation learning technologies
  • Establish coordinated implementation process.

The Wisconsin ADL Co-Lab will begin work on projects immediately, said Judy Brown, emerging technology analyst for the WTCS and primary liaison for the project. The first projects relate to learning management systems and intelligent tutors, Brown said.

The University of Wisconsin System consists of two doctoral institutions at UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee, 11 four-year comprehensive universities and 13 two-year colleges. The Wisconsin Technical College System consists of 16 technical colleges, with 47 campuses, providing career and continuing education, college transfer, basic education, as well as contract training for business and industry.


Sharyn Wisniewski, UW System
(608) 262-6448

Judy Brown, WTCS
(608) 267-9514