Enhancing Critical Thinking Skills for Army Leaders Using Blended-Learning Methods

Enhancing Critical Thinking Skills for Army Leaders Using Blended-Learning Methods

Susan G. Straus
Michael G. Shanley
Maria C. Lytell
James C. Crowley
Sara H. Bana
Megan Clifford
Kristin J. Leuschner
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 168
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/j.ctt4cgdsr
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  • Book Info
    Enhancing Critical Thinking Skills for Army Leaders Using Blended-Learning Methods
    Book Description:

    The U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff School offers its Advanced Operations Course (AOC) for junior field-grade officers using both traditional resident instruction and a model referred to as blended distributed learning (BDL). This report assesses the effectiveness of AOC-BDL based on student and graduate surveys and identifies best practices for BDL from empirical research and case studies.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8198-8
    Subjects: Business, Education, Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xiii-xxx)

    As the Army looks for more cost-effective, relevant, and timely means of delivering education and training, it has increasingly turned to distributed learning. Historically, technology-based distributed learning consisted largely of single-learner, self-paced interactive multimedia instruction. However, such methods may not be effective for all types of training and education, particularly those that involve teamwork; group communication; critical thinking; and joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational operations. The Command and General Staff School’s (CGSS’s) Advanced Operations Course (AOC) is one example of a leader professional development course focused on Army Learning Model competencies. AOC focuses on developing junior field-grade staff officers’ skills,...

  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxxi-xxxii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxxiii-xxxiv)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)

    As the Army looks for more cost-effective, relevant, and timely means of delivering education and training, it has increasingly turned to distributed learning (DL), which typically uses a variety of technology-based methods, including Web-based approaches, to allow students to complete coursework at a distance. Historically, technology-based DL consisted largely of single-learner, self-paced interactive multimedia instruction (IMI). However, such methods may not be effective for all types of training and education, particularly those that involve teamwork; group communication; critical thinking; joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational operations; and other competencies reflected in the Army Learning Model (U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command,...

  10. CHAPTER TWO The Blended Distributed Learning Advanced Operations Course
    (pp. 15-28)

    AOC focuses on developing the wide range of complex cognitive skills involved in planning military operations collaboratively, with students serving as members of an operational or tactical level staff. Achieving such learning goals is a challenge for any course. Working in an entirely distributed environment poses additional challenges, while offering new opportunities. In this chapter, we focus in particular on the input factors that are central to our analysis, conclusions, and suggested options for improvement in course design and delivery addressed in subsequent chapters of this report. The characteristics include

    Students: distributed geographically and across time zones; many have competing...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Satisfaction and Perceived Learning Effectiveness in the Blended Distributed Learning Advanced Operations Course
    (pp. 29-62)

    In this chapter, we describe findings from an exit survey administered to students at the end of AOC-BDL, as well as results from a pilot test of a survey given to graduates of AOC-BDL sometime after completing the course (the postgraduate survey).

    We present findings regarding course outcomes in terms of both student satisfaction and perceived learning effectiveness. Subsequently, we diagnose needs for improvement in the course by examining results regarding collaboration (learning processes) and technology and student characteristics (inputs). We conclude with findings that integrate measures of inputs, processes, and outcomes. Components of the framework highlighted in this chapter...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Literature Review and Case Studies of Blended Distributed Learning
    (pp. 63-92)

    In this chapter, we describe what we culled from the BL and DL literatures and from case studies in higher education (civilian and military) and industry. Our goal was to identify useful options for AOC based on best practices for BDL. We focused our analysis on practices that have documented support and would address major findings from the AOC-BDL survey data so as to directly contribute to options for improvement in the course. Despite an expansive literature on DL and BL, less has been written about the combination of BL and DL—BDL. Therefore, we have supplemented the literature review...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Conclusions and Options for Improvement
    (pp. 93-104)

    AOC develops key competencies in officers and uses DL (specifically, BDL), which is consistent with the goals of the Army Learning Model. To develop these competencies, AOC-BDL uses a more ambitious approach than most standard DL or BL in the Army or elsewhere in that it requires substantial instructor-student and student-student interaction and is completely distributed and often synchronous.

    In this chapter, we summarize our conclusions and then list various options for improvement. Both were informed and shaped by our findings about AOC-BDL (in Chapter Three) and by our findings from the literature review and the case studies (in Chapter...

  14. APPENDIX A Intermediate-Level Education Advanced Operations Course Blocks, Learning Objectives, and Cognitive Levels of Learning
    (pp. 105-106)
  15. APPENDIX B Psychometric Properties of Exit and Postgraduate Surveys
    (pp. 107-114)
  16. APPENDIX C Proposed Exit Survey Questions
    (pp. 115-122)
  17. APPENDIX D Case Study Interview Questions
    (pp. 123-126)
  18. References
    (pp. 127-134)