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Accelerating Instructor Mastery (AIM)


Educators typically study for four years at a university building a solid foundation of instructional knowledge. In addition, most educators also have observed practical experience before they instruct on their own. In contrast, active duty military instructors often don’t have the benefit of any education on how to instruct. They are often recently graduated students; although their content knowledge is strong, they lack "expert instructor techniques" (i.e., strategizing, executing, and adapting classroom instruction as needed to achieve desired outcomes). Given the limited learning and practice opportunities for military instructors, there is a need to capture, explore, and practice military-specific best instructor techniques in the schoolhouse, in order to enable and accelerate effective and engaging instruction even by inexperienced instructors. There are many different ways to possibly facilitate instructor development outside of a traditional education setting. One method is to develop simulated environments. For example, TeachLivE is a mixed reality environment that uses simulated students to help educators practice their pedagogical skills. In this type of environment, the scenarios can be tailored and scaffolding techniques can be provided to support until the instructional skills are mastered [1]. Another method is to facilitate peer collaboration. Enabling re-use and re-combinations of previously developed training material (e.g., documents, PowerPoint slides, video, audio, practical exercises, etc.) allows instructors to use, update, and further develop items that have proven effective in similar training curricula. Similar approaches have been studied in higher education, where teachers collaborate to generate content based on knowledge about teaching with technology [2, 3]. It is unclear which approach and systems would best facilitate and expedite learning and development for inexperienced instructors. Outside of the civilian traditional educational development model and system (e.g., 4-year degree, professional conferences, etc.) there are limited technologies and materials for inexperienced military educators / instructors to effectively learn and practice pedagogical skills. Innovative solutions are sought to address this gap in enhancing inexperienced instructor capabilities among military populations. These capabilities should be as open source as possible, require a low / no manpower footprint, and be a tool that can be self-sustaining and extensible for wide variety of military courses. PHASE I: Determine requirements for the development of software that provides capability to improve and accelerate the development of novice instructors. Requirements for data collection should include types of data and methods for easily capturing each type of data. Phase I deliverables will include: (1) requirements for the system components; (2) overview of the system and plans for Phase II; and (3) mock-ups or a prototype of the system. If awarded, the Phase I Option should also include the processing and submission of all required human subjects use protocols, should these be required. Due to the long review times involved, human subject research is strongly discouraged during Phase I. Phase II plans should include key component technological milestones and plans for at least one operational test and evaluation, to include user testing. PHASE II: Develop a prototype system based on Phase I effort, and conduct a training effectiveness evaluation. Specifically, military instructor performance areas will be provided to support the development of the training effectiveness evaluation. A near-term training need will be identified as a use case for initial system development. All appropriate engineering tests and reviews will be performed, including a critical design review to finalize the system design. Once system design has been finalized, then a training effectiveness evaluation will be conducted with a Marine Corps population. Phase II deliverables will include: (1) a working prototype of the system that is able to interact with existing system specifications and (2) training effectiveness evaluation of system capabilities to provide demonstrable improvement to the instructor population. PHASE III: If Phase II is successful, the company will be expected to support the Marine Corps in transitioning the technology for Marine Corps use. The company will develop the software for evaluation to determine its effectiveness in a Marine Corps formal school setting. In addition, the small business will support the Marine Corps with certifying and qualifying the system for Marine Corps use within the Marine Corps Training Information Management System. As appropriate, the small business will focus on broadening capabilities and commercialization plans.

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