In 2020, QUT became the preferred provider of a professional military education product for the Australian Army. In response to recommendations from The Ryan Review (2016), the Army formulated a strategy around increasing intellectual and decision-making ability, which lead to the development of a new professional development initiative, COVE+.
Analysing the impact
To mark the first anniversary since the initial launch of the learning platform, Army recently conducted an evaluation of COVE+ to assess progress against the original goals, and to inform ongoing development. Data was collected via online surveys and telephone interviews, from which the following insights were gleaned:
According to the findings, the most effective channels for raising awareness for COVE+ within Army was via internal advertising and chain of command recommendations.
2: Learner Experience
The majority of COVE+ learners were casual users seeking professional and personal development, accessing the program during work hours (55%) or in the evening (30%).
Learner feedback was mostly positive, with many sharing that the material was credible and well structured; the online units were easy to navigate; and there were positive comments regarding course structure and content, although a general preference for shorter units.
3: Learner Impact
The respondents shared that the learning enhanced their leadership and management skills as well as providing a gateway into further learning on other topics of interest.
Most respondents felt that the acquired knowledge could be transferred to the workplace, but while around half did not complete the practical exercises, those that did felt these exercises were a good test of their understanding of the material.
There was strong support for future units to include the opportunity to be awarded credit towards formal university qualifications.
4: Structure vs Flexibility
The cornerstone unit, ‘Reflective Practice’ had the most completions (1,378), however, there was feedback that this requirement provided a barrier to accessing more preferred units. While some learners valued flexibility, others desired more guidance around the structure and purpose of each program and unit.
5: Better Ways of Thinking
Other popular units related to better ways of thinking (e.g., ‘Brain and Behaviour’, ‘Cognitive Processes’, ‘Reasoning’, ‘Critical Thinking’, and ‘Lean Thinking’) as well as IT topics.
General introductory units such as – ‘Introduction to Philosophy’, ‘Introduction to Psychology’, ‘Introduction to Politics in Australia’, ‘Introduction to Economics’, ‘Introduction to Information Technology’, and ‘Introduction to Social Media’ – also proved to be very popular.
QUT is now working with the Army to respond to the evaluation feedback with adjustments to the current program before developing additional units and educational videos to expand the Cove+ program resources.
To learn more about this partnership, read the case study or contact QUT’s Associate Professor of Practice, Dr Peter Anderson.