The Evolution of Logistics Training in a Pandemic Environment

February 9, 2021 - Defence Stories

Author: Master Corporal Jeff Quinlan, CFLTC

There is no question that COVID-19 has had a substantial impact on the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) training environment. However, resilience in the face of adversity is expected – no matter the enemy. It is rare that opportunities like these where an organization with the right leadership, the right people, and the right attitude can attempt something radically different. In the Financial Services Administration (FSA) Cadre at the Canadian Forces Logistics Training Centre, that something was the successful completion of the first Rank Qualification Private course of any trade instructed completely via live distance learning.

Approximately ten weeks passed between the initial discussion of the feasibility and its physical implementation. We took the opportunity to overhaul the presentation of our lesson material and provide a much more fulfilling user experience. Interactive comprehension quizzes were created, with everything from fill-in-the-blank to multiple choice, drag-and-drop to mix-and-match. Our Enabling Check (EC) exams transformed to an online format focused more on the theory than the practical. These ECs were set up in such a way that they were immediately and automatically marked, lessening the strain on the instructor and the stress on the student.

A software program was needed to be selected that was both easy to use and readily available. Bridgit was chosen. It could it be accessed from both home and DWAN computers with screen sharing functionality, a basic chat interface, voice communication, and a hand-raising notification. In addition, the program had an option to convert your mouse pointer to a marker – an excellent tool for reviewing work or circling an item that needed further clarification, as our keen instructors determined!

We were confident the course could be taught, though we had our initial concerns over the stability of both DWAN and Bridgit. Those concerns were allayed by the end of the first day of instruction, with both systems remaining responsive throughout the day.

It was not all smooth sailing. Sound, internet, or other computer glitches tested the technical knowledge of our staff. We also had to develop a process for delivering distance PCs, reviewing exercises and disciplinary action. We could not ascertain struggling students via body language from the inability to see our students’ faces. However, we developed a few tricks on those fronts as well.

The entire process was not easy. All of our instructors and incremental staff put in a substantial amount of time to ensure the lesson material was ready even while preparing for postings and working from home. Our incremental staff, instructing our Western and Quebec courses, were required to learn processes and procedures from afar, multiplying their challenges. The end result? Fifty-eight Primary Reserve FSAs graduated this summer, able to move on with their careers and their lives, ready to support the CAF.

Pictured: MCpl Usher (Ryan), CFLTC, FSA Instr
Image taken via Samsung S10+ by MCpl Quinlan

Pictured: MCpl Quinlan (Jeff), CFLTC, FSA Instr
Image taken via Samsung S10+ by MCpl Quinlan

Pictured: Sgt Avila-Rivas (Claudia), GQ 35 GBC, IS Instr
Image taken via Samsung S10+ by Sgt Avila-Rivas


Mr. Walton (Randy), CFLTC, FSA Instr
Image taken via Samsung S10+ by MCpl Quinlan

Pictured: Sgt Arsenault-Mélasco (Marc-André)
Image taken via Canon EOS REBEL T3 by Cpl Lavoie


Pictured: MS Fluter (Roberta), CFB Moose Jaw, IS Instr
Image taken via Iphone XR by MS Fluter

Pictured: PO2 Conliffe (Caroline), HMCS Griffon, IS Instr
Image taken via Samsung Smartphone by MS McCutcheon

Pictured: Sgt Melgar-Urias (AJ), CFLTC, FSA Snr Instr
Image taken via Samsung S10+ by Sgt Melgar-Urias

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: