Frequently Asked Questions

What is NCOPDS and how does it differ from NCOES?

The Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System (NCOPDS) is the keystone for NCO development. The NCOPDS establishes an organizational framework to develop the next generation of competent and committed NCOs. Noncommissioned Officers develop as leaders throughout their career through progressive and sequential processes.  These processes incorporate training, education, and experience across three learning domains: Institutional, Operational, and Self-Development. The NCOES was a system that focused on leveraging experience in the operational realm and providing exposure to technical training in the institution. The NCOPDS is a system with a more holistic approach focused on integrating and synchronizing training, education, and experience across the operational, institutional, and self-development learning domains. NCOPDS is not a replacement for the NCO Education System. Instead, it retains many aspects of NCOES with proven effectiveness in the technical, tactical, and self-improvement learning arenas. Adding to the mix is a greater emphasis on opportunities to gain experience from different assignments as well as a focus on education. The latter component anchors the STEP strategy—Select, Train, Educate, Promote that came online in January 2016.

What is DLC and how does it differ from SSD?

The Distributed Leader Courses (DLC) are a series of progressive and sequential enhanced distance learning courses that are prerequisites for and directly tied to resident NCO Professional Military Education (PME) courses. The DLC will consist of six levels averaging 40 academic hours of curriculum delivered through the Army learning Management System. It is designed to focus on the six Leader Core Competencies formerly known as Common Core. The LCC’s are – Readiness, Leadership, Training Management, Communication, Operations (Army and Joint), and Program Management. Soldiers will be automatically enrolled when they reach the zone of consideration for promotion to sergeant and subsequent promotion zones of consideration thereafter for each level of DLC. The look and styling is more modern and intuitive to how people use technology today. The DLC utilizes a scrolling layout, scenario-driven, gamification style in visuals and interactivity. DLC is a Level III (Complex branching) Interactive Multimedia Instruction (IMI). Structured Self-Development (SSD) distance learning courses were your basic Level I (page turner, PowerPoint type) and Level II (Level I with some basic branching) IMI.

What is Adult Learning?

Adult learning is a practice in which adults engage in systematic and sustained self-educating activities in order to gain new forms of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values. Understanding how adults learn is a key component of teaching. This understanding arises from acknowledging three important aspects of adult learning: experience, relevance, and reflective thinking.

What is the Army Learning Model (ALM)?

The Army Learning Model calls for outcome-oriented instructional strategies that foster thinking and innovation, provide operationally relevant context, and best fit the learning audience and range of desired outcomes. Army U adopted the Experiential Learning Model (ELM) instructional strategy as the tool through which an instructor accomplishes teaching and learning. Understand that education connects experiences and prior knowledge through reflective judgment to construct a new understanding of complex situations allows adaptive instructors to facilitate learning through the Army U ELM.

What is ELM?

The Experiential Learning Model (ELM) is an instructional strategy by which all of the courses within NCOPDS are instructed. The ELM consists of five phases: concrete experience (CE) (a trigger of prior experience and knowledge); publishing and processing (reactions and observations are shared); generalizing new information (focuses on content and methodology); developing (student-centric focus on how the lesson will be valuable to the student); and applying (a check on learning; determination of achievement of learning objectives). Lessons are facilitated in a small group setting with a collaborative approach, which allows the Soldiers to discover information and then apply it to new and ambiguous situations. Lessons include critical and creative thinking activities and exercises, which aid in learning. Facilitators assess the Soldiers’ leadership ability and potential through observing discussions and interactions.

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