Project Update: Master Instructor Development

Cognitive Performance Group continues to support the efforts of the USMC Training and Education Command (TECOM) instructor development process through research sponsored by the Office of Naval Research. The work performed under the Master Instructor Development effort has provided invaluable insight and understanding for instructor development that will be applied to the training and education of USMC instructors, faculty members, and advisors.

Over the past year and a half, CPG has been collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data to create the Marine Corps Instructor Mastery Model. The Mastery Model describes the nature of USMC instructor development to mastery. This knowledge product is in the form of a reference booklet that describes the path to instructor mastery through a five-stage developmental process. The preliminary analysis for the Mastery Model revealed nine Key Performance Areas (KPAs) that described the role of a USMC instructor, faculty member, or advisor. After additional data collections and analysis a tenth KPA was added to this list. The final set of KPAs are Instructional Technique, Setting the Example, Communication and Delivery, Self-Improvement, Developing Subordinates and Peers, Planning and Preparation, Learning Environment, Assessing Effectiveness, Subject Matter Expertise, and Community of Practice. Descriptions of how people perform and develop skill across the stages of development in each of these areas produced a robust model of instructor mastery.

The information presented in the Mastery Model provides insight into not only the developmental progression of an instructor, but also the transition factors that accelerate development. A transition factor is an event that triggers a person to be pushed along in development to mastery. Knowing what these transition factors are and when they occur in development can focus training techniques to allow achievement of mastery in a shorter period. Most of the time, an instructor will hold the billet for only three years and then return to the fleet; therefore the speed of development to mastery is a key focus for this initiative.

Recently, the Mastery Model was adopted by the Marine Corps’ train-the-trainer working group as the basis for their newly defined instructor standards—in USMC parlance, the learning outcomes and Training & Readiness events for Marine instructors. Our next steps are to develop a standalone assessment battery and an observation rubric aligned with the Mastery Model so that instructor skills can be objectively assessed against the standards. Taken together, the mastery model and the assessment products will support the USMC Faculty Professional Development Program (FPDP) to revise or create service-level training and education solutions that addresses all aspects of an instructor’s career from screening and development to incentives and certifications.

Stay tuned for further insights on the Master Instructor Development effort!


About the Author:


Cognitive Performance Group, LLC is a woman-owned small business with offices in Orlando, Florida, and Cleveland, Ohio. It was founded by Dr. Karol G. Ross, Jennifer K. Phillips, and William A. Ross. The three CPG Principals developed the concept for a company to support cognitive performance improvement in industry and government. (more...)

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