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Self Development

What is it?
Self Development is one of three domains of training and leader development. The SD domain has three components structured, guided and personal development. As an enabler to lifelong learning, Structured Self Development (SSD) and Guided Self Development (GSD) bridge the gap between the institutional and operational domains in support of Noncommissioned Officer Education System (NCOES) transformation. Enabling a train ahead approach, the SSD consists of five levels of mandatory development spread across a Soldier's career. It is supported by a robust assessment and feedback process that includes self-assessment tools, the increased use of advanced technology like the Army Career Tracker, a secure test environment, achievable requirements, and policies that set the conditions for continuous growth.

What has the Army done?
Structured Self Development is planned, goal-oriented learning that reinforces and expands the depth and breadth of an individual's knowledge base, self awareness, and situational awareness. It complements institutional and operational learning, enhances professional competence, and meets personal objectives. The SD program consists of three distinct approaches:

  • Structured Self Development is required learning, progressively sequenced across a career and is closely linked to and synchronized with operational and institutional domains.
  • Guided Self Development is a set of recommended, but optional, learning that enhances professional growth and fosters continuous learning.
  • Personal Self Development (PSD) is self-initiated learning where the individual defines the objective, pace, and process.

The Army completed the first level of SSD and implemented a process to fully develop all five levels. Level one includes one commercial off the shelf product––an interactive on-line course based on the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The Army has adopted the American Council on Education (ACE) standards for testing, established ACE criteria to evaluate self-development materials for potential college credit, and initiated ACE review of the Army Correspondence Course Program.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The Army will conduct a limited capabilities test to evaluate the initial content of level one with Soldiers across the Army during the 2nd Quarter FY09. The Army has established a goal of fully implementing all phases of SSD by FY11. At the same time, the Army will refine and publish “how to” policy guidance for SSD and GSD and will align that policy with Department of Defense policy on electronic-based distance learning compensation.

Why is this important to the Army?
The SSD and GSD link self-development needs to NCO professional development efforts by ensuring that the self-development domain is well defined, meaningful, and synchronized and is integrated with the PSD domain of training and leader development. The SSD and GSD will bridge the operational and institutional domains and set conditions for continuous growth. When fully implemented, SSD and GSD will improve Army readiness by integrating self-development into a lifelong learning approach.

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