Training Design Methodology
Team Dynamis offers a wide variety of specialty courses specially designed for practical, realistic, safe and effective training and application to enhance survivability of trainees in the street, tactical team assignments, corrections and both conventional and elite military units.
All courses are taught by experts in the field that have dedicated their lives to developing and teaching integrated tactics to be used by those who must deal with fluid and chaotic Use of Force decisions that range from Verbal interactions to Defensive Deadly Force to Deliberate Deadly Force.
In an effort to help our client agencies to examine the systems they are using and to begin to incorporate more modern approaches to the training of their staff, our team has compiled a list of issues which we suggest should be covered by a robust and resilient system of training and preparation.
An effective system of training and preparation should incorporate the following criteria:
The training incorporates how survival stress impacts on perception
The training incorporates how changes in arousal effect physical performance
The training improves Reaction-Time using Mental Modelling
The training system addresses Stimulus Identification
The training system addresses Stimulus-Response Compatibility
Reflexive movements and defensive gestures are intrinsic to the training system
The skills being taught and assimilated are ‘low-maintenance/high-retention’
Simple solutions are preferred over complex ones within the training system
The system capitalises on what the learner can already do due to natural motor function
Progressive Intensity and Desirable Difficulties are introduced in training
Some stress-exposure and stress-inoculation is achieved in the training
The training system addresses intrinsic performer issues (motivation etc.)
In event-based training, events are embedded into training to achieve desired training objectives and provide opportunity for the trainee to apply skills in an environment representative of real world operational conditions.
Thought-leaders in the field of confrontation training recognise that the best way to design a training programme is to look at the types of scenarios in which our trainees may be faced with a performance challenge, and then place those scenarios at the very center of our thinking.
In this way, we ensure that the programme of training is relevant, effective and contextualised to provide the greatest benefit to the trainees when they need to put the skills they are being trained in, to use.
“training fidelity refers to the extent to which the characteristics of the training environment are similar to the characteristics of the criterion setting” PERFORMANCE UNDER STRESS (Hancock and Szalma 2008)
Ideally, the more fidelity the scenario exercise has with reality, then the better the result of our training, however it is possible to overwhelm the trainees with too high a level of fidelity and so cautious planning about the thresholds to which the training should cross / not cross are set in advance.
Our use of Impact Reduction Training Armour allows us to drastically improve and increase our level of training fidelity with role-players who can move naturally, broadcast congruous body-language and cues and then who can be impacted and controlled at close to full speed and full force by our trainees. This level of fidelity could not be possible without the use of such robust and specially-designed gear.
Four-Phase Training Model
We understand that there is significant difference in what it takes to perform a task in a benign environment and what adequate performance requires in a hazardous or high-demand environment (such as the use of physical intervention or protection skills during a confrontation).
The difference in the effectiveness of training is how the contextual environment impacts on performance: “consideration of the contextual factors that impinge on task performance is critical to maintaining effective performance in real-world settings” PERFORMANCE UNDER STRESS (Hancock and Szalma 2008)
The distinction between effective training and less-effective training, then, is the extent to which the training deals with and incorpoates these contextual factors which are (quite literally) part of the furniture in real-world scenarios!
We argue that the primary goal of any training programme is skill acquisition and retention, however high-stress environments include specific task conditions and require responses which differ from those found in the sterile classroom environment.
We use a four-phase model to structure our training:
1: Cognitive analysis, breakdown and reverse-engineering of tactical problems
Trainees are taught how to breakdown ‘global stressors’ into specific short-term, intermediate and long-term tactical goals. The trainees’ response to the stressor is re-packaged as being made-up of different components that have been identified and examined in detail.
2: Skills Acquisition, Development and Practice Phase
The second phase requires focus on skills acquisition and rehearsal and it follows naturally from the initial conceptualization phase which came before it. The specific skills that are taught and practiced in the training setting are then gradually rehearsed in more intense settings and are tailored to the specific stressors trainees may have to deal with in their poerational environment
3: Exposure, Testing and Experimentation Phase (in-vivo scenario replication)
The next phase of training and preparation provides opportunities for the clients to apply the variety of skills they have learned to deal with the problem across increasing levels of intensity. This is where the inoculation concept – as used in medical immunization – becomes evident. Techniques such as imagery and behavioral rehearsal, modeling, role playing, and graded in vivo exposure in the form of “personal experiments” are used during this phase to increase the trainees competence.
4: Detailed Debrief and Review of Performance including re-framing of objectives
Using video and in-person debriefs from experienced mentors, the process of refinement and re-adjustment of tactics and techniques is guided towards improvement in performance.
Our training is event-based – the event itself becomes the curriculum.
An event is defined as: “a specific task procedure with corresponding performance conditions. Events may be discrete and singular or they may be multiple events connected into a series representing a longer scenario. Events are defined to represent real world events and contextual demands.”