US Army: Self-Paced Learning & NCO Eduction

Research Paper Title

NCO 2020: A Concept for Self-Paced Learning in the Noncommissioned Officer Education System


For US Army non-commissioned officers (NCO’s), attendance at each level of professional military
education (PME) is a training requirement for career progression. Essentially, NCOs are required to
attend schools and demonstrate professional acumen and mastery of a broad set of military skills to achieve promotion to the next higher grade. Historically, the Army has trained enlisted soldiers using an instructor-centric, group-paced instructional approach, where soldiers are assessed on their ability to master tasks under specific conditions using explicit standards of performance.

NCO Education System (NCOES) training centres and academies continue to offer training in what is, for the most part, a lock-step fashion, where the level of rigour and challenge is not tailored to the individual. Lock-step training can be beneficial for certain situations, but not all. For this reason, there is a need for innovation in the NCOES; it needs to change its approach to education. In spite of advances in educational technology, NCOES courses continue to train NCO’s by relying too much on lock-step, instructor-led training, which is a dated approach to adult education.


NCO 2020 – Military Review, Article 008 (2014-10-31)


Bailey, L.W. & Bankus, T. (2014) NCO 2020: A Concept for Self-Paced Learning in the Noncommissioned Officer Education System. Military Review. September-October 2014, pp.36-42.


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