Improving Training at School and Work

Lessons from RAND Research on Army Individual Training

by John D. Winkler

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Individual training, which prepares soldiers to perform a military occupation and which occurs in classrooms, on job sites, and through self-development, is a large and costly part of Army operations, making it a tempting target for budget reductions. The Army has proposed several measures to reduce costs, under two general approaches: (1) shift training from schoolhouses to job sites and (2) make more use of mediated training technologies. With respect to the first approach, research shows that: (1) Army techniques for determining curricula for school and work-based training are sound; and (2) as training is shifted from school to work, costs and savings depend on the capacity for absorbing additional training in the field. With respect to the second approach, research shows that: (1) there is considerable room to increase the use of technology in schools; (2) most savings are obtained by adapting existing resources; and (3) technology should be used to replace, not enhance, hands-on training. These general lessons also seem relevant for civilian education and training, especially in technical fields.

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