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Author Straus, Susan G.

Title Enhancing critical thinking skills for Army leaders using blended-learning methods / Susan G. Straus, Michael G. Shanley, Maria C. Lytell, James C. Crowley, Sarah H. Bana, Megan Clifford, Kristin J. Leuschner
Published Santa Monica, CA : RAND, 2013
Online access available from:
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Description 1 online resource (xxxiv, 134 pages) : illustrations
Series RAND Corporation research report series ; RR172
RAND Corporation research report series ; RR172
Contents Introduction -- The blended distributed learning advanced operations course -- Satisfaction and perceived learning effectiveness in the blended distributed learning advanced operations course -- Literature review and case studies of blended distributed learning -- Conclusions and options for improvement -- Appendix A: Intermediate-level education advanced operations course blocks, learning objectives, and cognitive levels of learning -- Appendix B: Psychometric properties of exit and postgraduate surveys -- Appendix C: Proposed exit survey questions -- Appendix D: Case study interview questions
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
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 127-134)
Notes The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Army under Contract No. W74V8H-06-C-0001
Online resource; title from PDF title page (RAND, viewed July18, 2013)
Subject United States. Army -- Officers -- Training of.
Blended learning -- United States.
Distance education -- United States -- Computer-assisted instruction.
Military education -- Technological innovations -- United States.
Genre/Form Technical reports.
Form Electronic book
Author Arroyo Center.
Rand Corporation.
LC no. 2013025049
ISBN 0833081985 (electronic bk.)
9780833081988 (electronic bk.)