Who Are the Learners?
The learners are Disabled American Veteran (DAV) Service Officers. Most Veteran Service Officers (VSOs) are prior service military who have a service-connected disability, and the majority of VSOs identify as men.
Although, the learners taking this course are in different periods of development that range from early to late adulthood and are in what Piaget termed the formal operational stage, their chronological age is not as much of a relevant factor in determining an individual's psychological growth (Santrock, 2018, pp. 12, 20).
The average DAV Service Officer ages are from 40-75 years, with the majority of our learners in what John Santrock (2018), would say is "Erikson’s seventh and eighth stages of development," where individuals focus on generativity versus stagnation, and identity vs despair (p. 19). VSO learners are also familiar with working in team environments and can also be influenced by their peers. Those with strong relationships may network in a smaller circle of peers, whose attitude and level of engagement could influence the learner.
Learners have various experiences following a course “block” of training and executing procedures (Lasher, 2021). They also have mixed experiences in adapting existing and synthesizing information, and some learners have a wide range of leadership and management skills.
Evaluating the learners' prior knowledge is critical for ensuring that the training content for each VSO applicant is appropriate (Ambrose et al., 2012; Mayer, 2011). For example, each learners must have some basic knowledge of how to utilize a computer, navigate a computer browser, and locate the DAV training website.
Learners can often doubt their abilities, so the second essential motivational characteristic is self-efficacy or the learner's confidence in their ability to complete specific tasks. (Seli, 2020; Mayer, 2011) Self-efficacy plays a significant role in influencing a learner's decision to engage in any process.
Value is the second most important characteristic to understand about learners, because a learner's choice of completing a task solely based on intrinsic or extrinsic value can change the learner’s level of involvement in the task (Mayer, 2011). Motivation levels often change depending on the learner.
Goal orientation is tool the LMS promotes for VSO learners. The participants must opt-in to this closed training. The training is meant to align with their goals as a VSO and promotes outreach and service to more veterans. Therefore the learners work harder to learn and master the training because their motivation is based on their professional goal orientation (Mayer, 2021, p. 41).
The pilot training is only for VSOs, and it will be limited to members of the DAV community. Learners who can not attend in-person must have higher Prior Knowledge (PK) for using an online Learning Management System (LMS). Otherwise they will not be as motivated to complete the training. The DAV is a military-based organization the members have had some of the same work issues of power, equity, and inclusion that exist at the VA and in the military.