How Training Development Officers Solve Novel Problems
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The purpose of this study is to explore how Training Development Officers (TDOs) solve novel problems. Unlike other organizations, the military grows its talent. After enrolment in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), individuals are promoted to fill more senior positions. Senior positions are not filled by individuals outside of the CAF. Central to the education and training within the military is facilitating the development of expertise. Investigating qualitatively how officers solve novel problem can provide valuable insight into the development of expertise generally and also specifically within individual occupations within the military. The position of TDO was selected because TDOs serve as change agents and educational consultants for individual and collective operational performance. A hallmark of the TDO occupation is systematic thinking when providing advice, guidance, or facilitation. The purpose of this study was to explore: (a) how do TDOs characterize and identify novel problems within their occupation? and (b) how do TDOs respond to novel problems (i.e. transfer from automatic to effortful decision making)? Using Transfer and Adaptive Expertise paradigms, this study sought to understand how individuals are able to solve novel problems. This study identified that individuals are able to determine a problem is novel once forced to create a new approach to solve the solution. This goes beyond adapting or exporting a solution. Individuals become effortful in order to plan their actions. Participants develop a plan that is flexible and involves an ongoing integrated and iterative process allowing a plan to be reexamined and reoriented as required.