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The U.S. Air Force has a continuing interest in reducing training costs while maintaining or improving the training product. This study looks at educational approaches that would customize training to the individual, with the intent of minimizing the trainee's time in training, focusing the training on the trainee's needs, and getting the trainee productive sooner, all leading to reduced costs. The authors consulted experts in and out of the military, reviewed literature on personalized learning, reviewed meta-analyses on case studies of personalized learning, and assessed some contemporary models. Learning style feedback shows the student how to enhance his or her own learning, and it fosters a discourse between student and teacher on how the student can improve in a course. Customized learning increases the probability of creating lifelong learners. As individuals discover their learning styles, they are motivated to use that knowledge. If they have had bad experiences in the past, the new knowledge gives them a fresh point at which to reengage in learning. The authors recommend that the Air Force conduct some experiments with Air Force vocational training before implementation across Air Force training is considered.

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The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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