Faculty of Education

Faculty of Education
Faculty of Education

'Train as we Fight': Bringing Military Culture into the Classroom

Dr. Morcom’s research is in the areas of Aboriginal education and languages, as well as in military training improvement.

Canadian soldiers sitting in a classroom.

While Aboriginal education and military training improvement might seem worlds apart, both involve bringing culture into the classroom to best meet the needs of the learners and the goals of the educational program.

Over the last three years, Dr. Morcom has worked with LCol (Retired) Michael Sweeney to examine the impact of the introduction of new teaching techniques and technologies in the classroom. Their project, called the Three Tiered Trial because it looked at beginner, intermediate, and advanced military training, saw the introduction of open-access internet in the classroom, modernized barracks designed for study and collaboration, improved adult education training for instructors, and the use of blended learning combining online and classroom study through the use of learning management systems. The goal was to encourage military training establishments to ‘train as we fight,’ creating an atmosphere in the classroom that fosters the same collaboration and sense of personal responsibility that military personnel require in the field or on the job.

The results were revealing. The more the instructors engaged the students in collaborative, self-guided study, the more willing the students were to take responsibility for their own learning. Provided they received appropriate guidance from instructors, collaborative learning resulted in strong group cohesion essential for effectively building military ethos. By building a learning environment that reinforces military culture, military students can gain vital hard skills at the same time as they learn to live core military values.

Key Findings

  1. Effective feedback & clear expectations give the students the freedom to take ownership of their own learning.
  2. Moving from a traditional classroom to blended learning requires effective change management, but the effort is clearly worthwhile.

The results of the study will be released later this year in a book entitled The Three Tiered Trial (3TT): Achieving Synergy in Training Improvement, published by the Canadian Defence Academy Press.

Further Information: Dr. Lindsay Morcom