Enhancing critical thinking skills for Army leaders using blended-learning methods

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). The BDL course lasts 12 months and uses a variety of informatio...

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Main Author: Straus, Susan G.
Corporate Authors: Arroyo Center, Rand Corporation
Format: eBook
Language:English
Published: Santa Monica, CA RAND 2013©2013, 2013
Series:RAND Corporation research report series
Subjects:
Online Access:
Collection: JSTOR Open Access Books - Collection details see MPG.ReNa
Summary: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). The BDL course lasts 12 months and uses a variety of information and communication technologies to support synchronous and asynchronous collaboration among students and instructors entirely at a distance, with most students completing the course on discretionary time. 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. Results show that the course has a number of strengths and that students were generally satisfied with the course. However, student responses also suggest that improvements are needed to support computer-supported cooperative learning and collaboration in distributed teams, particularly for instruction and collaboration on complex tasks. Furthermore, while students were satisfied with instruction for some operational topics, their responses may indicate needs for improvement in instruction of critical field-grade competencies, such as the military decision making process, problem solving, and communication skills, and in teaching leadership skills corresponding to a range of operational environments. Case studies and the research literature point to a number of best practices and options for improvement. Adding a resident segment may offer the greatest potential for improvement but may not be feasible in this context. Alternatives for improvement include modifying the composition of student teams to alleviate coordination challenges, moving the course delivery platform to a dotcom to improve technology reliability and functionality, and addressing policy to ensure that the chain of command and employers provided dedicated time for students to work on the course
Physical Description:xxxiv, 134 pages illustrations
ISBN:0833079093
9780833079091