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Instructor course endures after innovative update

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The 105th Airlift Wing’s Base Defense Group sponsored a cutting-edge instructor course at Stewart Air National Guard Base Jan. 8 through 19.

Mr. John Erdman and U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Todd Beran, training specialists assigned to the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center University at McGhee Tyson ANGB, Tennessee, taught the updated 80-hour ANG Instructor Course to 24 Airmen from across the 105th.

“The version that we’re teaching now is about a year old,” said Erdman. “We’re trying to transition from the traditional ‘death by PowerPoint,’ lecture-based training to a more active student-centered training.”

Erdman said that the TEC University is tailoring its courses to the best practices across the industry in tandem with the latest education research data.

“The Air Force is moving in that direction as well,” said Erdman. “At all of the tech schools, they are moving to a more student-centered active learning environment.”

Active learning strategies focus on developing students rather than solely transmitting information. An example, as taught in the course, is getting students to recall current knowledge and actively connect it to new knowledge and perspectives.

Erdman said that within small group activities and discussions the students are the ones generating the bulk of the knowledge. Therefore, the students are engaged with the content instead of just passively sitting and listening to it.

Beyond focusing on active learning, students developed lesson plans and delivered both an informal lecture and a demonstration performance lesson within the course.

These updates in instructor training fall in line with the National Defense Strategy and “Accelerate Change or Lose,” an idea originally developed by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr.

“You need Airmen who have a broader set of skills to be able to problem solve, work together, communicate, be flexible,” said Erdman. “The traditional approach to education doesn’t really develop those skills.”

This course is the initial of future instructor courses currently being crafted by TEC University.

“In addition to this course, coming in the fall, we will have a course specifically targeted towards curriculum development,” said Erdman. “We are also adding an advanced instructor course which will be out in the fall of this year as well.”

Any Air National Guard member who is or wants to be a trainer is open to take the instructor course.