Convergence on the guidelines for designing a virtual irregular warfare internship: A Delphi study
Steven J. Greer, Capella University, United States
Capella University . Awarded
The United States is engaged in an irregular war and will be well into the foreseeable future. The military must find professional learning opportunities to educate war-fighters while they fight. There is no time to wait for formal in-resident instruction since war-fighters must share experiences in near real-time to capture the nuances of irregular warfare. Therefore, this study examined experiential learning theory as a means for war-fighters to increase their knowledge of and share their experiences in irregular warfare as a supplement to inflexible resident military education programs. This study involved surveying current irregular warfare experts and experiential learning theory experts via a Delphi study technique to identify key elements for designing a virtual internship. The Delphi Technique utilized to gather expert opinion employed three rounds of surveys all delivered and returned via Survey Monkey, an on-line survey tool. The first round requested that participants respond to open-ended questions regarding the rationale, issues, facilitators, design, and learning outcomes of a virtual internship. The second and third rounds refined the elements identified in previous rounds to reach a consensus among the panelists. After completing three distinct survey rounds, the Delphi panels of 34 experts reached a consensus about elements that constitute a best practices model for studying irregular warfare via a virtual internship experience. The research question regarding how a virtual internship program in irregular warfare should be designed to facilitate optimal learning was fully answered by the 66 elements that were identified as either very important or important. In short, the findings concluded that experts support the use of experiential learning theory to educate war-fighters through a virtual internship experience. Consequently, the findings present a model for virtual internships that may be used by educators to advance curriculum and expand future experiential learning opportunities.
Greer, S.J. Convergence on the guidelines for designing a virtual irregular warfare internship: A Delphi study. Ph.D. thesis, Capella University.
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