If we take a step back and look at the traditional approaches to professional training for military, law enforcement, and corporate security applications, it becomes apparent that a great percentage of the time and resources we expend are ultimately fruitless. In some cases, our efforts may even be counter-productive.
Traditional blocked training structures are based around efficient presentation, resource limitations, and instructor convenience. They are not built around efficient or effective learning. How many of us have sat in large conference rooms filled with people in day after day of “training,” consisting of endless power point presentations and lectures–from which we gleaned perhaps one or two useful pieces of information, if even that? How many of us have finished a training program, only to find the need to virtually start learning from scratch once operational application is required?
Recent discoveries in the fields of neuroscience and behavioral psychology can help us better evaluate our training methods and design our training systems based around with how the human brain learns information effectively. Combining this knowledge with today’s technology and varied methods of information delivery can prevent us from spending large amounts of our training resources in avenues that are largely unproductive. This can not only provide us significant savings at the organizational level, it can also improve retention, operational performance, and overall training value at the same time.
The first place to start when re-evaluating an existing training program, or when working on building a new one, is to develop a thorough understanding of the operational objectives the training is intended to produce. Once these objectives are clearly defined, they can be broken down into a neural map comprised of the components of brain function required for operational performance. As the training program is developed and implemented, this map of neural networks and connections can be deliberately coded into the student’s brains through application of our neural modeling tool. This approach ensures that the required skills and information for operational performance are placed into the appropriate neurological location.
When examining existing approaches to training using a neurological model (especially in advanced tactical training), it quickly becomes clear that a significant portion of the training time is spent with the intent of “connecting the dots” between pertinent skills, knowledge, and fundamental neurological functions such as cognitive evaluation and decision-making. Unfortunately, this is often attempted with students who do not possess the neural “dots” that the training is intended to connect. When this occurs, the training period can often be a wasted time period and, if progressive interference is involved, can even be counter-productive in terms of long-term student performance.
By adjusting our approach to training system design and applying the neural modeling tool, this less than productive expenditure of training time can be avoided. Over the life-cycle of a professional training program, this more deliberate and informed approach to training design will both reduce the need for training hours (by avoiding wasted time) and simultaneously improve both student retention and operational performance.