TRAINING DEVELOPMENT OFFICER
I’m Captain Rob Tucker from St. John’s, Newfoundland and I’m a Training Development Officer at the Canadian Forces Training and Development Centre at CFB Borden in Ontario.
And I’m Lieutenant Navy Jim Meadley from Halifax, Nova Scotia. I’m the Training Development Officer at Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics in Kingston, Ontario.
TUCKER: Training Development Officers really advise on the design of curriculum in the CF, but we also go back to see at the need for training in the CF. We actually do needs assessments and advise on that process where, in the beginning is there a need for training? Normally it starts with a gap in performance which is where we are now where we want to be. For example, if on operations in Afghanistan, if something’s not going well, the experts within that field will lead an analysis of that situation, but if training is deemed to be deficient, they will actually hand it over to teams including Training Development Officers to advise on a way ahead in training.
MEADLEY: The first thing that happens is we take a look at all the tasks, skills, knowledges and references that are associated to that and we identify where the gap has occurred. What was missing, what is new? We’re not the drivers of these boards, but we certainly have a responsibility to ensure that they use a systematic approach, they answer all the unanswered questions and the choices that they make in the way to deliver is sound and makes sense.
TUCKER: Training Development Officers really have to go out and observe training – watch instruction in a classroom, watch instruction on the ship, on the flight line or in the field.
MEADLEY: Being out here where the soldiers are doing their job allows you to look at what they’re doing in a real world environment. It allows you to bond with them, ask questions. You’re seen as part of their group and when you go back into the boards and into the classrooms, you have a better appreciation of what the expectation is. You can speak from your gut and not strictly from a book. Change is good. Innovation is good, but don’t do it for the sake of change. You have to have some tangible at the end, some value. Be it efficiency or student satisfaction or in a financial way, there has to be some benefit. But innovation doesn’t come from a Training Development Officer. Sometimes innovation comes from the Private or the Corporal that sees a better way of doing it, but he doesn’t know how to make that innovation or that idea come forward and if we can be an agent or a venue for that change to come forward, that’s where we should be.
MEADLEY: After basic officer training, Training Development Officers spend five months at Canadian Forces Base Borden, in Ontario. This is the course that gives you an in-depth perspective of the Canadian Forces Individual Training and Education System and the Systems Approach to Training which is at the core of everything we do.
TUCKER: And then what’ll happen is you’ll go out and do on-the-job training with a qualified Training Development Officer where you’ll be advising on the development of training. What you’ll usually advise on training plan development. You’ll also advise on the development of training standards. You’ll also complete a program evaluation where you’ll evaluate a complete training program and recommend ways and means of improving your program. Once you do that OJT which lasts up to 6 months depending on where you are, you’ll be deployed to one of the training centres where you act as a training education advisor to a training establishment.
TUCKER: Even as a junior Training Development Officer, you are in fact having strategic implications on performance on operations. We advise the training and education of sailors, soldiers and members of the Air Force who are going on operations. If your advice is wrong, operations are at risk. Lives are at risk. So even as a junior officer, you can have a significant, strategic impact, so actually, quite frankly, we’re important in the system and we are really punching above our weight, if I may say that.
MEADLEY: The Systems Approach to Training allows us to take the job, in this case or a problem, and apply a systematic set of analysis tools to find out what do we need to do, how do we need to train it, how well does a person need to do it. We then move on to what does the training look like? We design it. Then we go into a delivery mode where we actually deliver the training to the students, we evaluate the training that we’ve given them and then at a period of time beyond when they’re out on the job, we validate to ensure that what we trained them was correct and this cycle will continue – analysis, design, delivery, evaluation, validation – and everywhere we allow it to go back and make changes. And it ensures that we provide the same training consistently to every person.
TUCKER: If you’re interested in the military and interested in instruction and teaching and instructional design, this is a great job.
MEADLEY: The best part of this job is that I go to work, I deal with professionals who really care about what they do. The work that I put in – I see an instantaneous result. At the end of the day, I see a student succeed.
TUCKER: I go to work every day, I enjoy what I’m doing, in uniform. And if you look around at people around you, how many people go to work every day and actually want to go to work? That’s the biggest key to being a Training Development Officer is – go to work every day knowing that you’re having an impact improving performance on operations.