Leader Challenge: What Would You Do?

Volume, Issue - Date: 
Volume 15, Issue 3 - June 2011
Author(s): 
Chris Miller, The Praevius Group
Author(s): 
Nate Self, The Praevius Group
Author(s): 
Sena Garven, U.S. Army Research Institute
Author(s): 
Nate Allen, The Pentagon
Full article - Free: Click on the file to download.: 
Keywords: 
learning effectiveness, experiential learning, tacit knowledge, leader development, meta-cognition, professional forum, self-awareness
Abstract: 

Given the complex environment in which the U.S. military operates, leaders at all levels must be prepared for a force that is more responsive to regional combatant commanders needs, better employs joint capabilities, facilitates force packaging and rapid deployment, and fights self contained units in non-linear, non-contiguous battle space. This project’s goal is to provide computer-mediated environments for learning from simulated leadership challenges within the discussion space of professional forums. The primary tool used in the project is the Simulated Cognitive Leadership Challenge, “Leader Challenge,” a platform where Soldiers can construct solutions to various scenarios presented to them by their peers and/or predecessors.

The U.S. Army’s web-based peer-to-peer professional forums provide a good avenue to explore multi-modal, distributed, asynchronous education to troops deployed in a combat environment. These forums provide a collaborative learning environment where the “field” Army and the institutional Army education system (the “schoolhouse”) can overlap in a distributed and powerful manner.

These professional forums (namely the PlatoonLeader and CompanyCommand forums) employ a variety of techniques to foster connections, content, and conversation—all with the goal of improving member effectiveness and advancing the practice. The particular intervention discussed herein is a cognitive constructive simulation based on dialogue interviews.

Currently, over 3200 participants have provided data. Overall, participants found the Leader Challenges engaging and worthwhile. Participants reflect learning through an increase in response quality from pre-test to post-test. Participants also report increased perceptions of self-efficacy from initial engagement in the Leader Challenge modules to the exit surveys.