Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Adapting Military Education to a Social-Cognitive View

Military education is adapting to technological changes at a rapid pace. Technological advancements in the military have always been part of the process of defending core American values. The use of online education is growing for traditional schools and military training. A study by Anthony Artino discusses the social-cognitive view of motivation and self-regulation in understanding students’ satisfaction and learning outcomes in the Navy (2007).  The design of courses and student understandings determine their overall success in learning new skills that can be adapted to military needs.

The Department of Defense spends more than $17 billion on military education and has converted the majority of its educational capacity to computer supported distance learning programs (United States General Accounting Office, 2003). Traditional schools are also adjusting their educational processes to something more virtual. According to a survey of 1,000 colleges by the Sloan Consortium (2005) they found that 63% of colleges that offered face-to-face undergraduate courses also offered online courses and 56% believed that online education was strategically important.

 Students come with all types of impressions of online education that range from the valuable to the mundane tasks of training. Some of these students have little to no academic background and find themselves behind the curve in updating their knowledge. Other students view themselves from their family background and personal experiences that impact their ability to succeed in online education. 

Students who feel that their education is important are more likely to have higher outcomes than those who don’t (Pintrich, 1999). They are willing to put in more time and be more motivated about their work. Student success was based in their self-efficacy (Lynch and Dembo, 2004). Self-efficacy being the belief the student can actually accomplish what they set out to accomplish based upon their skills and abilities.

Successful online students came with more technological abilities than other students (Kearsley, 2000). They are strong users of cell phones, laptops, tablets and other modern communication tools. Such skills can be adapted to the modern use of technology that is part of weaponry and military communication. Students are capable of mastering introduced technology faster.

204 Navy personnel engage in the study with 74% male and 26% female. The study confirmed other literature findings that motivation and prior experience predicted outcome. Those that believed in the benefit of education and found courses interesting did better than those who didn’t. In congruence with social-cognitive models it is important for students to believe they can do well, be motivated, but also understand the importance of the training. Online educator can consider the need to put education within a proper and broader context of benefit.

Artino, A. (2007). Online military training: using a social cognitive view of motivation and self-regulation to understand students’ satisfaction, perceived learning and choice. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 8 (3).

Kearsley, G. (2000). Online education: Learning and teaching in cyberspace. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Lynch, R., & Dembo, M. (2004). The relationship between self-regulation and online learning in a blended learning context. [Electronic version]. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 5(2).

Pintrich, P. R. (1999). The role of motivation in promoting and sustaining self-regulated learning. International Journal of Educational Research, 31, 459-470.

The Sloan Consortium. (2005, November). Growing by degrees: Online education in the United States, 2005. Retrieved from

United States General Accounting Office. (2003). Military transformation: Progress and challenges for DOD’s advanced distributed learning programs (GAO Publication No. 03-393). Washington, DC: Author.

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