A quasi-experimental study to explore the impact of PAR on becoming an Agile Warrior

Berry, Leon; Rienties, Bart; Littlejohn, Allison and Sastry, Venkat (2020). A quasi-experimental study to explore the impact of PAR on becoming an Agile Warrior. Military Psychology (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/08995605.2020.1724753

Abstract

The Agile Warrior concept has been developed to promote thinking skills throughout all ranks in the British Army, including initial training during Phase 1. The concept of the Agile Warrior is based around transformation of learning and teaching in the Army from an instructor-led approach to a constructivist, student-led method. This transformation is facilitated through a process termed ‘Present, Apply, Review’ (PAR). The effectiveness of the PAR method to encourage recruits’ motivation, self-regulation, and reflective thinking was tested in a quasi-experimental pre-post design by comparing 97 participants who were trained by PAR instructors with 115 participants who were trained by Non-PAR instructors. Subsequently eight recruits were interviewed to interrogate the underlying reasons why PAR was effective for some, but not others.

In contrast to expectations no significant positive effect of PAR compared with Non-PAR instruction was found in terms of motivation, self-regulation, and reflective thinking. Follow-up semi-structured interviews indicated that a mix of pre-dispositions (e.g., physical ability), motivational climate (e.g., instructor) and learning factors (e.g., self-regulation) influenced the lived experiences of Phase 1 recruits, and PAR in particular. A recommendation is to expand the application of constructivist approaches to training within the Armed Forces, paying particular attention to the motivational climate of the learning environment and the learning factors and pre-dispositions of the learners. Further studies are needed to examine the impact of constructivist approaches to training within that context.

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