Re: Learning in US Marine Corps LO3931
Wed, 29 Nov 1995 11:14:47 -0500

Replying to LO3889 --

In a message dated 95-11-29 08:35:21 EST, you write:

>the fighting organization that operates as a LO in
>peacetime will enter combat better equipped to learn more and learn
>faster, to share information faster both up-down and laterally, to make
>sound decisions based on shared mental models, and to provide broad,
>systemic responses to the changing contingencies of the battlefield.

Well put. This is illustrative, IMHO, that the Corps was an LO long
before Peter Senge was born. Let me through some age-old LO techniques
that I've witnessed in the USMC - in my case in the early-mid 1970's

REQUEST MAST - anyone of any rank can request mast up to the Flag
(General officer) level without recrimination (unless the request is

Enlisted Commissioning Program/NESEP/MECEP - a means through which
the Corps moves high potential enlisted personnel into a commissioning
and education program

The ACUTE critiques after all large-scale and small scale combat
training exercises which can really get detailed and tough - rank be
damned, combat performance, timing and comm are the only measures

Finally, at the risk of repeating an earlier post, LO is built-in to the
culture of the Corps. Dr, Charles Reigluth when he was at Syracuse
University invented what he called the "Epitomy" learning theory for
instructional systems design. The premise is that deep instruction is
most powerful when preceeded by presentation of an epitome of the
knowledge, skill, or attitude desired - call it a "perfect example" if you
will. The rich oral and written history of the Corps provides an abundant
field of epitomes that transcend the time and place of the epitome. In
the book "Built to Last" and the book "Corporate Lore and Legend" you can
see the power of grounding a culture in a history which serves to
constantly and richly "point the way" to what you want, need, and hope for
from the people of the organization. And story telling is perhaps the
oldest and most effective ways to convey anything learned.

Hal Popplewell