THIS PART CONSIDERS A NUMBER OF ISSUES related to training for optimizing performance over the short and long term. Chapter 3 addresses basic issues of learning from the standpoint of skill acquisition, retention, and transfer, with an emphasis on the durability and flexibility of posttraining performance. Chapter 4 addresses the learning strategy of modeling expert performance. These issues benefit from active research traditions that have resulted in large literatures from which conclusions can be drawn. Much of the relevant research is summarized in these chapters.
A somewhat different approach is taken in Chapter 5, in which training is considered in relation to the development of careers over the long term. These issues benefit from recent work done on performance in organizations: that literature is used as a basis for the framework proposed as a guide for research and development activities in the Army and related organizations.
The usefulness of any training program depends on whether the skills acquired can be used in other settings and long after the training experience. The many variables that influence retention and transfer of skills are discussed in Chapter 3. With regard to retention, considerations include the original level of learning, task organization, and the time since training. With regard to transfer, key issues are the similarities between training and transfer tasks and conditions and how knowledge is used in the training and transfer situations.
A new topic receiving attention by learning psychologists is the modeling of expert performance. The committee's decision to consider this topic resulted from its earlier work on modeling in the areas of motor skills and influence strategies. The treatment of modeling in Chapter 4 deals primarily with complex cognitive skills. It is apparent that the kinds of direct modeling or imitation approaches that may work for acquiring relatively simple skills are not relevant for more complex performances. The discussion in this chapter calls attention to such considerations as the nature of experts' knowledge, ways to effectively extract that knowledge, and ways to impart it to the learner.
As noted, the last chapter in this part deals with career development. In this chapter we propose a systematic approach to issues of career development, and we evaluate widely used self-assessment instruments believed to contribute to enhanced performance. The approach consists of a set of propositions, based on research findings, that can be implemented in current programs. The evaluation focuses primarily on the popular Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).