Last Updated: 03 June, 2015
The ability to pass on knowledge and skills to colleagues is of critical importance in the military, where all commanders are responsible for providing training, not just specialist instructors. Therefore, the ability to teach junior colleagues can be vital not only to achieving success but also to maintaining their safety in hazardous situations.
Training for military instructors is provided by the Defence Centre of Training Support (DCTS) or a franchised military training establishment. Although there are a number of courses provided by, or on behalf of, DCTS there are usually only one of two which initially concern aspirant instructors:
- Defence Instructional Techniques (DITs) Course; or
- Defence Train the Trainer (DTTT) Course.
These two courses are now legacy qualifications, the reader is directed to The Defence Trainer Capability and the Army Instructor Capability pages for up to date information on the new range of courses. However, a good deal of the information on this page is still extant.
Although there is a common framework, the instructor training process itself varies slightly among the three Services. The Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force predominantly send instructors to the DCTS, which offers courses of up to three weeks duration, of which two days are devoted to learning how to care for recruits. The Army has training centres with different specialisms at Lichfield, Catterick and Leconfield. There is also a specialist course for Royal Marines instructors at Lympstone, which emphasises coaching and leadership.
The DCTS is discussed in greater detail on the associated page: Overview of DCTS
The British Army replaced, or rather enhanced, the Defence programme of courses with the Army Instructor Capability (AIC) programme during 2014. The vast majority of Army instructors will complete their instructor training at the Army Recruiting and Training Division’s Staff Leadership School (known as either the ARTD Staff Leadership School or simply ASLS).
The new AIC programme will encompass three core courses:
- The Army Instructional Techniques (AIT) course;
- The Army Instructor Supervisor (AIS) course; and
- The Army Instructional Leader (AIL) course.
As well as changes in the Defence environment, there have also been a number of changes in the civilian environment and a matrix of civilian and military qualifications for comparison can be found here.
Please view the downloads section of the website for example lesson plans.
Definition of Instruction
“The process of helping learning to occur according to pre-set learning objectives.”
Overview of Training
The DITs course is designed to give individuals – both regular and reserve – with little previous training experience the ability and self-confidence to prepare, plan and deliver lessons centred across both theory and practical skills.
The course teaches the fundamental skills needed to deliver effective lessons that can then be applied to any learning/teaching need. These fundamental skills include how to structure and manage lessons as well as a range of teaching techniques, such as the use of computers to facilitate the learning process.
The EDIP (Explanation, Demonstration, Imitation and Practice) model is used as a basis for delivering lessons, with applications such as how to assemble a radio system used as practice examples.
Crucially, the training also covers how to motivate students in a lesson environment. A positive, can-do attitude is one of the hallmarks of military personnel and the ability to enthuse and inspire others is a key trait that the military seeks to develop.
The course culminates with participants planning, preparing and delivering two training sessions on which they are assessed and graded.
Course Detail and Outline
- Entry requirements: JNCO or above (junior non-commissioned officer);
- Capacity: 24 persons
- Duration: 5 days
- Frequency: 18 per year.
The course provides the foundation skills for personnel to be able to prepare, plan and deliver skills and theory lessons to enable them to achieve specified instructional objectives.
The course encourages full participation by the students with classroom and computer-aided instruction. The course is divided into four syndicates each being assigned a dedicated course tutor. The students prepare, plan and deliver one twenty-minute lesson and one thirty-minute lesson. Feedback is given to the student on their performance in a constructive manner by the tutor and this follows feedback from both the student and peer group.
A military lesson can be divided into four distinct phases:
- Preliminaries: involves classroom and training material preparation.
- Introduction (I.N.T.R.O.S), includes:
- Need for the lesson
- Range (or rules)
- Objectives of the lesson
- Safety brief (safety includes, for example, actions on a fire as well as issues specific to the lesson).
- Development: this is essentially the main theme of the lesson and may be broken down into stages.
- Consolidation: this involves a summary of what has been achieved, restating the objectives, test, questions to and from students and reference. The final point is a link to the next lesson.
The EDIP Method
The UK military currently uses the EDIP method of instruction to impart information to groups of individuals. The EDIP method of instruction consists of:
- Explain what subject you are going to teach.
- Why you are teaching the subject (i.e. the need and purpose, such as a career course).
- Optional Demonstration: carry out a full demonstration at normal speed without commentary & without any questions.
- Mandatory Demonstration: talk about each stage of the construction, point out any relevant areas (including safety).
- Split into stages.
- Talk about each stage & any Q’s.
- Get students to imitate.
- Check work.
- Carry onto next stage.
- students now carry-on at their own pace and practice the construction.
Students receive complimentary copies of the Defence Instructional Techniques Précis Booklet.
Organisations receive a written report on the student, which includes details of the student’s overall performance and any particular strengths or areas for improvement.
Successful completion of the DITs course allows instructors entry on to a number of other courses, which include:
- DIT(T): Defence Instructional Techniques (Trainer) course;
- DIAD: Defence Instructor Assessment & Development course;
- DTTT: Defence Train the Trainer course;
- DTTT: Competent Coach, Stage 1
- DTTT: Sub Unit Coach, Stage 2
- DTTT: Master Coach, Stage 3
- DTTT(C): Defence Train the Trainer Consolidation course;
- Coaching and motivation;
- Supervision and coaching of instructors;
- Presentation techniques;
- Simulator instructional techniques;
- CoT: Care of Trainees course;
- DTM: Defence Training Manager’s seminar; and
- DSAT: Defence Systems Approach to Training, modules 1-11.
For information on the Army Instructor Capability range of courses that have superseded DIT, DTTT and DTTT(C) view here.
Benefits of the Course
By the end of the course, the participants will be able to:
- Employ the principles and techniques of good instruction;
- Identify the tasks and responsibilities of an instructor;
- Plan a period of instruction;
- Correctly formulate a lesson objective;
- Carry out a confirmation of a lesson;
- Employ testing, teaching and reasoning questions;
- Select, prepare and use instructional aids’;
- Deliver a theory and skills lesson;
- Manage instruction (and discipline);
- Skills analysis; and
- Be familiar with Brief-Monitor-Debrief.
This course provides military organisations and establishments with basic instructors capable of being trained to deliver specific courses.
The DITs course gives students the necessary skills and self-confidence to plan and manage lessons and is highly applicable to the civilian workplace.
The course is accredited to the civilian Edexcel Level 3 Award in Education and Teaching which provides an introduction to teaching and is the first step towards licensed practitioner status. Previous incantations of this qualification include (IfL, 2013):
- PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) Award; and
- City & Guilds 7303 qualification;
This is the minimum qualification required by any instructor to teach adults on publicly funded courses, for example in the Further Education sector.
Following the course, employees will be able to plan, prepare and deliver theoretical and practical lessons using well-established teaching techniques. It will enhance their presentation techniques and also give them the self-confidence to talk in front of others. Specifically, it will develop the following skills and qualities:
- Planning and preparation of a training session;
- Delivering of skills and theory training using engaging and effective techniques;
- Classroom management and the ability to motivate students;
- Self-confidence to deliver training; and
- Enhanced presentational skills.
Cost of Training
According to research endorsed by the Chartered Management Institute, if an organisation were to pay for training to deliver equivalent employee development it would cost them in the order of £1,000 (SaBRE, 2013). This relates just to the PTLLS training which is relevant to a civilian workplace.
DITS Course Conversion
Some companies, on an occasional basis, offer the opportunity for individuals to convert their Defence Instructional Techniques (DITs) qualification into a recognised Level 3 civilian QCF qualification.
Since 2012 Army, and affiliated, personnel have completed the Army Instructor Capability programme of courses which are accredited as part of the process. The ARTD Staff Leadership School (view Section 10.2 – Qualifications) was re-approved in 2013 as an Institute for Leadership and Management (ILM) centre and now holds permanent ILM status.
Although people still refer to the old titles, PTLLS/CTLLS/DTLLS, the courses are now known as the Award/Certificate/Diploma in Teaching and Education respectively. For legacy qualifications, the reader is directed to http://akuro.co.uk/courses.html, who have previously provided upgrading courses for this purpose.
Institute for Learning (IfL)
Military and civilian personnel who successfully complete any of the new/legacy Defence Instructional qualifications may be eligible to join the IfL; eventually undertaking professional formation depending on their job roles and qualifications (view the IfL website for further information using the reference below).
The IfL does consider legacy qualifications as relevant and valid, but this is dependant upon subsequent roles and maintaining currency (i.e. continual professional development, CPD).
- Not Likely to be Considered If: you completed a DITS course in 2004 and used it during your 2-year posting and then never again.
- More Likely to be Considered If: you completed a DITS course in 2004 and have continued to use it in subsequent instructional posts and conducted CPD.
Obviously, the IfL is the decision-maker, I am only giving two broad examples.
I completed my Defence Instructional Techniques (DITs) course in 2004 with the Defence Centre of Training Support (DCTS) at HMS Nelson in Portsmouth, Southern England. Below are some of my personal points which individuals may find useful.
- Although the DITs course introduces individuals to the basic rules of good Instructional Techniques, there are a number of pitfalls which should be avoided.
- It is said that the art of instructing cannot be learned simply by studying text books and listening to lectures, and as such it is a skill which can only be acquired, and maintained, through practice.
- During the DITs course individuals are given the opportunity to apply the instructional techniques covered in the various stages of the course through a series of practical ‘rehearsal’ exercises. The experience individual’s gain during these exercises will depend on the amount of effort they put into the course.
- Peer feedback is an important aspect of the DITs course and all individuals are encouraged to provide constructive feedback and criticism. Tutor feedback is given after peer feedback and replay of any video footage.
- Once an individual has completed the DITs course they will have a good technical foundation for understanding the theory behind the art of instruction. However individual’s will only become ‘good’ instructors and improve the standard of instruction given to their students if they try to take the theory back into the classroom each time they take a lesson.
IfL (Institute for Learning) (2013) Teaching in Further Education. Available from World Wide Web: <http://www.ifl.ac.uk/membership/initial-teacher-training-itt> [Accessed: 01 October, 2013].
SaBRE (Supporting Britain’s Reservists and Employers) (2013) Reserve Forces Training: A Guide for Employers. Defence Instructional Techniques Course. London: SaBRE.