On February 22, JC Choy, an Infantry Officer at Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) unveiled an app designed to improve soldiers ‘experience and ownership in NS’ (National Service) on his Facebook page.
He showed how the app can be of use to Singapore’s soldiers in training, much to the approval of many netizens.
Mr Choy, whose social media page indicates he belongs to the 2nd Battalion of Singapore Infantry Regiment, starts his post by saying that when he started out by taking over command, there were a few things that would “bug” him that he evidently wanted to improve—beginning from having to post on A4 paper training programs and IPPT results. He realized that there had to be some way of taking advantage of everyone having a smartphone.
The next thing he wanted to change had to do with NS trainees’ perspectives. He writes, “Second, some soldiers have a mindset to live day by day and do what they are told, with little foresight and ownership of what they want to achieve and become in NS. I really wanted to change that.”
These served as Mr Choy’s motivation to develop a “Soldier App” prototype that would help improve the experience of NS trainees. His goal was to “increase the soldiers’ experience and ownership in NS through better information dissemination, and sense of mastery and growth by tracking their milestones, awards, and results.”
Therefore, the resulting app does three things:
- It’s for tracking key activities forecast and completion
- It tracks badges earned (individual, milestones, roll of honour)
- It tracks IPPT results (Individual Physical Proficiency Test)
According to Choy, when he showed the prototype to some soldiers in order to get their feedback, he got positive responses from them.
They also made suggestions of what to include in the app, including a countdown that would show how much time was left in a certain phase or even for a soldiers’ ORD, or Operationally Ready Date, which is the day when a National Serviceman completes his 2-year term of service.
Mr. Choy also wrote that other suggestions included additional molds for feedback and reflection or games wherein badges or points might be converted “into real-life awards (such as military gear).”
He added that commanders suggested modules for the workflow that could minimize paperwork including training records, application of leave, and approval for training programs.
Mr. Choy was delighted at the suggestions, writing, “It’s exciting the ideas they have!”
He believes that he has made a worthy product for his fellow soldiers.
“End of the day, it’s a strong desire to move our Army with the times and professionalise it further. I believe we can combine the best motivational tools out there with technology to change the social contract of NS – to encourage our soldiers to be informed and invested about their own growth, mastery, and journey. Hope to be able to bring this forward, even if I’m out of command now.
Really, this is for both our mission and men! Another thing I’ve proud to have done. A small step for sure, but I hope it will lead to greater things.”
At the end of his post, he asked for more feedback and ideas for the app to be even better.
“P.S. Hive mind: please contribute ideas on how we can further develop this and what kind of modules we should have!”
Commenters have congratulated Mr Choy on his app, and have also made suggestions for adding features to it.
One netizen suggested a countdown that included “links to a career guide,” as NS men look forward to their future.
Another suggested a positive news feed feature.
One commenter thought a bit of history would be a good idea.
Another netizen suggested a feature for hazard reporting using a smartphone camera.
And one commenter said that adding a section for useful numbers, such as the SAF safety hotline, the COS telephone number, and others, would be beneficial for soldiers.
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