By Taheesha Quarells
Voluntary education is now available on mobile devices.
The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support, also known as DANTES, is proud to announce the new “MyVolEdPath” mobile app, a tool aimed at increasing service member awareness of Defense Department’s voluntary education programs and benefits, many of which are available to members at no cost!
Discovery Tool for Students
The new app serves as a discovery tool to help military students begin to build personal pathways to their individual education and career goals. It also serves as another resource to demonstrate the DoD Voluntary Education (VolEd) program’s commitment to ensuring service members are properly informed regarding the valuable educational opportunities available to them.
A key feature of the mobile app is the discovery tool designed to quickly assess and generate recommended programs for individual members. Students can “Create a New VolEd Path” by answering a few short questions about their career and education goals. Based on their responses, app users are presented with program cards that introduce them to programs they may be interested in learning more about to help them complete their degree. Once those selections are made, the user is taken to their pathway.
Voluntary Education Pathways
The “My Pathway” section of the app provides the user with a customized checklist to support the pursuit of their education goals. Students are presented with a snapshot of their discovery tool selections to remind them of the options they chose. Because students are able to create multiple pathways, this reminder allows them to be clear on the pathway that corresponds to a particular goal (for example: military advancement, officer accession, college degree, etc.). Next, the user is presented with the option to “Find a Counselor” and explore “Recommended Programs.”
The programs included on the “Recommended Program” list will include those voluntary education programs that best correspond to their current education level and future education goal. As the users select a program, they are taken to an overview of how the program may help them prepare for college and career advancement, find support as they pursue schooling, and save time and money while completing degree requirements.
To find more detailed program information, users can select “Learn More”. For those who may be ready to get started with using a program, they can select “Try Now” to be instantly connected to register for a program. Students are able to share their recommended pathways directly with their education counselor through email or social media.
Connections to Counselors
Service members using the app are able to connect to voluntary education professionals through the “Find a Counselor” feature. By selecting their branch of service, CONUS or OCONUS, and their state, app users are presented with all of the education centers available to them in their location.
The app includes additional functionality that connects directly to the mobile device’s call features to allow users to contact the education center. The education center location and street address are also included. For those who may prefer virtual assistance, the branch of service selection will automatically populate the appropriate Virtual Education Center or voluntary education portal information.
Education Program Info & Access; Videos, Podcasts & News
Not everyone who uses the app may want to complete the discovery tool assessment. For those interested in learning about the available programs, they can select “All Benefits” from the main menu.
This will bring the user to an overview of all the programs included in the app and links to additional program information. From here, users can also access each program by selecting “Try Now.”
Because there are various ways learners consume information, the mobile app includes videos and audio podcasts. These resources will be updated on a regular basis and provide program benefit information and tutorials based on frequently asked questions.
The app also includes articles on various education topics from the DANTES4Military.com blog for service members. Each week, new articles are available that offer guidance, advice, encouragement and information that supports military students pursuing voluntary education.
FAQs, Resources and Encouragement
An important aspect of promoting quality education opportunities for service members is ensuring they have adequate support. In addition to being able to “Find a Counselor,” the app provides users with connections to DANTES support resources. From any screen within the app, users can select the question mark at the top right-hand corner of the screen to be connected and either chat live with a DANTES representative via instant messenger. They can also send a message for an email response.
In the “FAQ and Resources” section, members can find answers to frequently asked questions and links to helpful resources.
Tool to Help Counselors & School Representatives
One of the voluntary education community’s strengths is its myriad of professional education counselors and school representatives from the DoD Voluntary Education Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (DoD MOU) academic institutions. The MyVolEdPath mobile app is provided to help these professionals empower students to navigate the vast amount of available information. Counselors and school representatives can encourage students to use the app to aid in making informed decisions on the right programs and benefits that will help them prepare and be ready to succeed while pursuing post-secondary education.
The app can be used to begin the process of clearly defining education goals and connecting to those resources that will be the most beneficial throughout a member’s education journey. The app can also save counselors time during advisement sessions by familiarizing students with voluntary education terminology, programs and how to access resources.
MyVolEdPath users will also benefit from positive reinforcement and periodic encouragement through badges. Users can earn badges for reaching certain milestones within the app. These badges can be viewed with their profile and are also shareable on social media.
Download the App
To download and view the MyVolEdPath mobile app, visit MyVolEdPath.com or the Apple App and Google Play Stores by searching for “My VolEd Path” or “DANTES.” For additional information, contact DANTES Communication Team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.