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My Curious Month

At Grounded Curiosity we’re passionate about sharing the work of, and linking with, the broader professional military education (PME) network within Australia and overseas.

To this end, you may have already seen our Track II PME network Prezi. This curated collection of international PME resources – regularly reviewed and updated – puts the minds of some of the world’s best military thinkers right at your fingertips. This PME network has grown exponentially since we first started collating these resources – we’re here to help if you’re finding it tricky to know where to start.

This is the first of a new monthly serial titled ‘My Curious Month’, where we will explore common themes that pop up across the PME network, summarise them and signpost resources if you’d like to explore the topic further.

Taking some liberty in this new serial’s first ‘hit-out’, we extend our scope to the back end of 2018 and these first few of months of 2019. A theme that has come through thick-and-fast is optimal methods of building a cognitive advantage within modern military forces. 

So here we go, what has the network said about …

BUILDING A COGNITIVE ADVANTAGE

The online posts that really piqued our interest on this topic were Callum Muntzand David Beaumont’s great contributions to The Cove. Muntz argues that military school houses are failing to deliver the ‘best bang for buck’. The fix: instructor training, investment in training environments and short course review loops. Beaumont agrees that there is more that can be done to ensure that the school houses are generating the highest quality product available, but tempers the critique with the observations that instructor development is no replacement for experience. Career courses are designed around doctrine for good reason and there is real benefit, and a requirement, for breadth of training in career courses. What do you think? Do military school houses hit the mark when it comes to generating a cognitive advantage?

In July 2018, we published a piece by Jarrad Dekuyerthat addresses another factor in instructor capability – bias. Cognitive bias is an important consideration not just for instructors but for all military practitioners. Heuristics have a place, but are often riddled with the biases of our social and professional upbringing. The best way to combat them? Know about them. To explore bias further the podcast Choiceologyas a great place to start.

Formal education is only part of the puzzle. Those who are serious about striving for professional mastery cannot leave their learning solely to the school houses; an individual responsibility remains. This sentiment is perhaps best detailed in ‘A Letter to Our New Academy Graduates’by MAJGEN Mick Ryan. Through this letter MAJGEN Ryan makes it clear that personal study, reflection through writingand owning force education are all key leadership responsibilities that should be developed from the moment military practitioners step-out of initial training.

So where to look for this individual inject of knowledge? We think one of the best ways to get up-to-date and interesting PME is through social media. It can be accessed when, where and in a format that resonates with you. We’re not the only ones who think this either. The Field Grade Leader ran an entire series on the benefits of social media for leader development. Additionally Josh Bowen over at 3×5 Leadership wrote an excellent piece on recommended apps for leader development, with social media platforms like Twitter taking pride of place.

So there we have it – focusing on constant improvement of instructor capability, owning your own development and leveraging social media as a tool for learning. That’s what the network has to say about building a cognitive edge; this curious month.

Nick Alexander is a current serving Combat Health Officer. He is the Communications Director at Grounded Curiosity and member of the Military Writers Guild.

What have we missed? What nuggets of knowledge have you found in the network to help you build a cognitive advantage? Share your resources in the comments below.

Resources

  1. Bigger Bang for Your Buck – What if the Teac is ‘Not Yet Competent’? – Callum Muntz – The Cove
  2. Don’t worry – the instructor is competent: Army training from the perspective of a Chief Instructor – David Beaumont – The Cove
  3. Instructor Bias at Military Training Institutions – Jarrad Dekyuer – Grounded Curiosity
  4. Choiceology Podcast – Charles Schwab
  5. A Letter to Our New Academy Graduates – The Edge – MAJGEN Mick Ryan
  6. Digital Leadership Series – Multiple Authors – The Field Grade Leader
  7. Recommended Apps to Support your Leadership Development and Growth – Joshua Bowman – 3×5 Leadership