LENGTH OF RECLASSIFICATION COURSES UNDER
This appendix provides further discussion of our assumption that DL reclassification courses in the Army can be 30 percent shorter than their corresponding AIT counterparts.
The 30 percent number originated from research conducted by Orlansky and String (1979), who examined the results of some 30 studies of the effects of DL on military training. The 30 percent figure was the median effect on course length for the courses they examined. In addition, it should be noted that the variance of the effect of DL on course length was large; in fact, three of the courses studied by Orlansky and String actually required more time after conversion. In explaining the overall reduction of course length across studies, Orlansky and String point out that one likely reason for this effect is that self-paced DL instruction allows students to spend only as much time as needed to achieve a given performance standard.
The Army Science Board, in its 1997 study of Army DL, also concluded that course length could be reduced 30 percent. In making its determination, the board cited research demonstrating that the application of modern learning technology can lead to large reductions in learning time. Perhaps more important, the board cited reasons for course reduction having to do with the conversion process. Independent of learning technology and media, course developers in academic settings have found that when an existing RL class has been examined for critical tasks, and then modified to meet these objectives, significant reductions in course length have been achieved (Army Science Board, 1997, p. 15).