WARNING: If you are looking for a detailed breakdown of these classes, stop reading. That’s been done numerous times quite well already. What follows is more of the “why” you should train at Max Velocity Tactical. Carry on.
Learning can be defined as a change in behavior as a result of experience. The behavior can be physical and overt, or it can be intellectual or attitudinal, not easily seen. Psychologists generally agree, however, on some characteristics of learning.
CHARACTERISTICS OF LEARNING
Learning is Purposeful –
Each student sees a learning situation from a different viewpoint. Each student is a unique individual whose past experience affects readiness to learn and understanding of the requirements involved.
Learning Comes Through Experience –
Learning is an individual process. The instructor cannot do it for the student; knowledge cannot be poured into the student’s head. The student can only learn from individual experiences. “Learning” and “knowledge” cannot exist apart from the person. A person’s knowledge is a result of experience, and no two people have had identical experiences. Even when observing the same event, two people react differently (random John or overthinking Jason); they learn different things from it, according to the manner in which the situation affects their individual needs. Previous experience conditions a person to respond to some things and ignore others. All learning is by experience, but it takes place in different forms and in varying degrees of richness and depth. For instance, some experiences involve the whole person; others, only the ears and memory. Therefore, the instructor is faced with the problem of providing experiences that are meaningful, varied, and appropriate. For example, by repeated drill students can learn to say a list of words, or by rote they can learn to recite certain principles of reacting to contact. However, they can make them meaningful only if they understand them well enough to apply them correctly to real situations. If an experience challenges the learner, requires involvement with feelings, thoughts, memory of past experiences, and physical activity, it is more effective than an experience in which all the learner has to do is commit something to memory. It seems clear enough that the learning of a physical skill requires actual experience in performing that skill. Mental habits are also learned through practice. If students are to use sound judgement and solve problems well, they must have had learning experiences in which they have exercised judgement and applied their knowledge of general principles in the solving of realistic problems.
Learning is Multifaceted –
If instructors see their objective as being only to train their students’ memory and muscles, they under-estimate the potential of the teaching situation. Students may have learned much that the instructor had not intended, for they did not leave their thinking minds and feelings at home, just because these were not included in the instructor’s plan.
Learning is an Active Process –
Students do not soak up knowledge like a sponge absorbs water. The instructor cannot assume that students remember something just because they were present in the classroom when the instructor taught it (definitely me). Neither can the instructor assume that the students can apply what they know because they can quote the correct answer from the book. For the students to learn, they must react and respond, perhaps outwardly, perhaps inwardly, emotionally or intellectually. But if learning is a process of changing behavior, clearly that process must be an active one.
LAWS OF LEARNING
Law of Readiness –
Individuals learn best when they are ready to learn, and they do not learn much if they see no reason for learning. Getting students to learn is usually the instructor’s responsibility. If students have a strong purpose, a clear objective, and a well fixed reason for learning something, they make more progress than if they lack motivation. Readiness implies a degree of single-mindededness and eagerness. When students are ready to learn, they meet the instructor at least halfway, and this simplifies the instructor’s job (not generally a problem for the caliber of students that come to MVT, but Max provides all of the above in healthy doses).
Law of Exercise –
This law states that those things most often repeated are best remembered. It is the basis of practice and drill. The human memory is not infallible. The mind can rarely retain, evaluate, and apply new concepts or practices after a single exposure. Students do not learn to react to contact after one run up a firing lane. They learn by applying what they have been told and shown. Every time practice occurs, learning continues. The instructor must provide opportunities for students to practice or repeat and must see that this process is directed toward a goal.
Law of Effect –
This law is based on the emotional reaction of the learner. It states that learning is strengthened when accompanied by a pleasant or satisfying feeling, and that learning is weakened when associated with an unpleasant feeling (This concept might be sort of reversed at MVT, where the physical and stressful nature of the training at times is painful and unpleasant. Successful completion of individual tasks and the course does lead to great personal satisfaction though, plus you get the admiration of Max, Lee and First Sgt. along with a really cool velcro MVT patch.)
Law of Primacy –
Primacy, the state of being first, often creates a strong, almost unshakable, impression. For the instructor, this means that what is taught must be right the first time. For the student, it means that learning must be right. “Unteaching” is more difficult than teaching. Every student should be started right. The first experience should be positive and functional and lay the foundation for all that is to follow. (Stop it with the random!)
Law of Intensity –
A vivid, dramatic, or exciting learning experience teaches more than a routine or boring experience. A student is more likely to gain greater understanding of small unit tactics by performing them than from merely reading about them. The law of intensity, then, implies that a student will learn more from the real thing than from a substitute. The classroom imposes limitations on the amount of realism that can be brought to teaching. The instructor should use imagination in approaching reality as closely as possible. Live fire exercises can add vividness to classroom instruction. Law of Recency – The things most recently learned are best remembered.
LEVELS OF LEARNING
Learning may be accomplished at any of several levels. The lowest level, ROTE LEARNING, is the ability to repeat back something which one has been taught, without understanding or being able to apply what has been learned. Progressively higher levels of learning are UNDERSTANDING what has been taught, achieving the SKILL TO APPLY what has been learned and to perform it correctly, and associating and CORRELATING what has been learned with other things previously learned or subsequently encountered.
Most of this information has been quoted, paraphrased and slightly added to from the Aviation Instructor’s Handbook, US Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, 1977. I have highlighted these aspects of learning to remind us all what a proper instructor should be like and what it takes to really learn something. In so doing I want to commend Max in his superior training skills as they meet and exceed all the aspects of training and learning as described above. As Diz mentioned recently in a forum post, we have an amazing resource in Max and the cadre at MVT and as time and money allow we should be training with them on a regular basis. Max just “gets it.” He can read people and situations better than most. He knows what you’re thinking usually before you know. He has a highly attuned bull shit meter, don’t try and pull one over on him, he’s smarter than he looks. He’s a direct man who means what he says. His intensity, awareness and skill on the live fire courses are perfectly counterbalanced by his patience, humor and intellectual acumen in the classroom. His masters level knowledge of all the courses that are taught at MVT is amazing. I wish Max was a close friend but I will settle for him being one of the best instructors I have ever had.
A few specific things from my experience at Rifle Skills / Combat Team Tactics / Combat Patrol. It goes without saying but I will say it, more PT. I’m too soft and weak and I shouldn’t be. I ran a tavor with an acog . . . great rifle/scope combo. I wasn’t as quick on target as I hoped with the acog so I bought a trijicon rmr scope to mount on top of the acog for quicker close in shots. On the patrol overnight my rifle lubricant dried up a little and subsequently my rifle didn’t return to battery several times during the morning fun. I need better lubricant and more of it on the rifle. I replaced the inner belt in my battle belt with a cobra buckle belt. I needed a stronger belt and one that could be removed quicker so I wasn’t messing with it so much. I need a better set of knee pads that isn’t constantly slipping off my knees. I need a better set of eye pro that doesn’t create such pressure points under the ear pro and also allows a better sight picture through the scope. The middle post of the eye pro seemed to be obscuring the sight too often. Part of that was a cheek weld issue as well. I need to improve that and be more quick to establish where i place my cheek on the butt stock. I need to improve my observation skills on patrol and take better mental notes of what I see. I need to improve my buddy awareness. There were times my buddy or team were staring at me wondering when I was going to tell them to MOVE! The versa rig is the BOMB! Get one. After I wasted money on other systems I finally broke down and got one and they just work. The MVT shield works really well. It’s easy to set up with bungies and tent stakes and straps easily to the bottom of my pack for storage.
A few comments on Lee and 1st Sgt. These men are perfect foils for Max. They are not far from Max in skill, aptitude and knowledge and bring a wealth of added experience and perspective to the courses. While Max is the ring leader and needs to keep all the rabble on task, Lee and 1st Sgt. are able to mix it up a bit more with the students and go down the rabbit holes with all the foolish questions we invariably ask about gear, tactics, prepping, politics and TEOTWAWKI. I was a bit wary of both men at first as they were taking our measure at the beginning of class but they quickly showed their skill on the live fire courses and in their inter personal skills during and after class. Max couldn’t run the course as effectively without them and I look forward to getting to know them better over the years.
The time is now friends. We need to be training mentally, physically and spiritually for what is speeding down the road at us. Don’t put off your training any longer. Most of us have friends and family that count on us for support and guidance. Don’t let them down because it was too hard, or it cost too much money, or it’s too dangerous, or my wife doesn’t like guns and won’t let me keep them in the house, or i don’t want to be on a government watch list . . . bla bla bla. At some point in our extremely short lives we have to stand up and be counted. Hiding in a hole and hoping the coming storm will pass you by isn’t a winning strategy. It’s a cowards strategy and will only make you a slave and get you killed. Let’s choose together to stand and live (or die) together as free men. Thank you Max for helping me on this journey and for all the free chicken.