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Master Instructor

Main Project Capabilities & Focus Areas


The Marine Corps' goal to enhance the mental agility and cognitive readiness of small unit leaders will not be realized without instructors who can develop decision making and other complex cognitive skills in their students. The challenge is to define the gold standard Marine instructor, produce a a professional development path that leads to instructor mastery, and create an assessment tool that will support the development of instructor skills.


CPG developed an Instructor Mastery Model describing what Marine instructors do and how they perform at five different levels of proficiency. The Mastery Model has been adopted by the Marine Corps as Training & Readiness events and learning outcomes. We are in the process of developing a set of Instructor Assessment Tools to assess an individual’s current stage of learning and support the formal schools in their continuous instructor development efforts.


This effort was sponsored by the USMC Training and Education Command and the Office of Naval Research


The Instructor Mastery Model is guided by the research literature on cognitive skill acquisition, expertise, and instructor competencies. It is customized to Marine Corps instructors as a result of knowledge elicitation with over 100 Marine and other Service subject-matter experts. Ten instructor Key Performance Areas, or competencies, are presented in the model, as well as performance indicators describing the nature of an individual’s performance at each of the five stages of development. The Mastery Model (1) prescribes instructional interventions and techniques for both instructor-led and self-directed skill improvement throughout the lifecycle of the Marine Corps instructor, and (2) guides the creation of assessment tools that measure trends in instructor capabilities as formal training system and self-development improvements are implemented.

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