In Melbourne, Australia in 1970, Michael Hewitt-Gleeson designed the generic Career Acceleration Program (CAP). He used principles distilled from his leadership training experience in the Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force.


From 1967 through 1974 in Australia and South Viet Nam, Dr. Hewitt-Gleeson studied, as part of his military training and service, world-class Australian Army officer training in leadership, survival, confidence training, methods of instruction and military arts. He conducted further experiments while serving as a Chief Instructor in the Royal Australian Air Force as a Reserve Officer.

Hewitt-Gleeson discovered the value of Instructor Training in the military. The way military schools used coaching and mentoring to train young soldiers and officers. The military say that “the school of experience may be a good teacher but the tuition is prohibitive. It costs too much time to learn that way”. In 1970 he distilled his insights into the CAP Philosophy:

Whatever it is that you are doing, someone, somewhere is already doing it a "much better way".

Shrink your doing time to 80% and spend the spare 20% researching for that "much better way".

When you find the "much better way" you can leap straight to it, by-passing experience, which is too slow and too costly.

In 1976 at HBO Studios in New York he produced a 3-part video version of his train-the-trainer program (CAP I, II and II) which became the first nationwide video training program in the USA. The program was first used by Equitable Life Assurance in 185 of their branches across the US and also by the Ford Motor Company.

Since then, continuous, focused development of the training technology in the marketing, business, and public training applications has brought its evolution to its current stage of development.

CAP is a train-the-trainer technology, for converting knowledge into skill. In training CAP instructors, six principles are emphasised:

1. Learning By Teaching:

Learning by teaching means that if you have to explain something to someone else, then you must have already learned to explain it to yourself. So people are encouraged to teach their skills to each other, to their families, to friends online and offline.

2. Knowledge into Skill:

In academic education, lessons are often designed using SLOs (Student Learning Objectives). The evaluating question is asked: What will the student know? In military education, lessons are often designed using SPOs (Student Performance Objectives). The question is asked: What will the student do? There is a BIG difference in outcomes between these two methods of instruction. This important principle is about developing a thorough understanding and conviction of the difference between merely having knowledge on a matter and owning a skill of performance in it. The virtue of virtuosity. Understanding the strategy of practice and repetition.

3. Measurement:

Unless one was deliberately willing to trade off the necessary time and energy needed to acquire a new skill – that is, logging the hours of practice and repetition – the trainee could never expect to go beyond the knowing stage and reach a level of operating skill. This means focusing on the process and measuring it in hours of practice and key performance indicators (KPIs).

4. Commitment to Action:

The skills must be useful in daily life. To assist the transfer of skills acquired in training to real life situations, trainees designed specific “action commitments” on special planners including times, dates, places, etc.

5. Effective Follow-up:

The monitoring of feedback and measuring results were an important part of CAP. Checking to see if what happened was what the trainee really wanted. This became a continuous part of the process.

6. Reinforcement:

Noticing increments of progress in acquiring new skills and then recognising them in an appropriate way by feeding back information–cybernetically–for positive reinforcement were fundamental principles of CAP.




191 thoughts on “TRAIN-THE-TRAINER: The CAP Philosophy

  1. Reinforcement by providing feedback is a great tool when delivered in a positive manner. It’s great to know when you are doing well, great to get some hints and help on improving your actions and good to know that others are as keen to see you progress as you are to progress. Understanding the contribution that your efforts make and your own potential for improvement are valuable in reinforcing why we do things in a particular way.

  2. 3 and 4: The dedication and processes to make it happen is my weakness. I can nod my head and understand the principles and think it all makes perfect sense. But actually getting down to it and doing the practice and repetition and making myself do it is the challenge. A bit like going to the gym three times a week (but only actually going once a week).

  3. 6. Positive Reinforcement. Positive feedback is a great tool. People appreciate when their efforts are acknowledged.

  4. 5. Effective follow-up. This is often forgotten or left out. Important step in ensuring training is effective and practical

  5. Reinforcement – This encourages my team to think and work more effectively. Then Team loves good feedback, however if there is a slight negative, they tend to focus on that so it can be fixed.

  6. I feel that learning by teaching is an important principle. Some years ago a very special lady came into my life and became a mentor to me. She was able to convey her knowledge to me with such assuredness and clarity that I was not left waivering and it inspired me into action.

  7. Learning by Teaching, is something I need to focus on more in my interactions with my team, soi they start to get the confidnce to run autonomous buiness units, instead of having to rely on me to drive the business for them.

  8. 1. Learning By Teaching:

    Learning by teaching means that if you have to explain something to someone else, then you must have already learned to explain it to yourself. So people are encouraged to teach their skills to each other, to their families, to friends online and offline.

  9. I think these are very useful principles. These are good principles to use as a leader and as a coach.

  10. This process can help you to explore your default behavior which many are not usuallyaware of. It also reinforces the benefit and importance of doing.

  11. Effective follow up is one I think, can surely make a change. Whenever we do some action, many of us fail to recognise or notice the feedback (mostly the subtle ones) and continue with the same action. This is a sure recipe to failure whereas an effective follow up method can help us do a course correction in our actions, and thereby makes the action more effective.

  12. I like this 6 CAP PRINCIPLES. are strong, clear, powerful, simple and can be also a gide “easy” to use.

    All open and close de circuit of developed skills. A strong leadership buy learning, be convince by onself it is importante and useful and also coun with measuremente, followup and reinforcement.

  13. 1. Learning By Teaching: Teaching help you to better understanding what you are learning and by so doing help to be committed to your topic and more research works.

  14. I like this
    the two Key things for me to work on now are
    commitment to action and measurement
    I v’e started to use trackers to monitor my progress and this is definitely accelerating my progress

  15. All 6 priciples need to be applied and work together to produce effective and efficient outcomes. The principle of measurement is often an overlooked or incorrectly applied principle. Measurement that is based on purpose viewed from the customer/stakeholder expected outcome from the activity or skill will produce effective value-adding.

  16. I think reinforcement, is the most important. But other principles must be followed since to achieve the last one, then first five must be mastered.

  17. I like all the principles, but the one that appeals to me most is finding ways to apply and use the skills in my daily life, thus giving me constant practice, feedback, and repetition.

  18. Commitment to Action…My own commitment to action demonstrates to the trainees my status as a leader..Often “do as I say, rather than, do as I do” undermines the trainer and worse still undermines the value of the training in the eyes of the trainee.
    To understand this principle (by doing) would made me a better leader.

  19. 4. Commitment to action – Understanding ways of planning and using X10 thinking strategies in everyday life and then recording the situations and outcomes where these have been applied. Recording this information should build a database that can be analysed to understand how I can further improve my X10 skills based on previous outcomes both good and bad.

  20. The principle of knowledge into skills is very important. Our culture has emphasized understanding over doing. I think the time is ripe to emphasise doing or practical thinking. We should be trained to make things happen in the world rather than explaining how things can happen in the world.

  21. All of these are equally important so I would start at the top and focus on step one until I had that dialled then move through iteratively until it became one flow of knowledge.

  22. i think all mentioned principles are in one degree of importance…and cause I got optioned for learning by teaching let me to be close apart with whole community and help me to full and completely understanding what is going on and improve it to transfer it as much better….that can help me to be good thinker and leader

  23. Very essential for me as a teacher. I can use them to help myself in each of the areas and later help others improve.

  24. I think they’re all important, a package that is complete. If I was asked to emphasise one element, Knowledge into Skill. You have to truly have knowledge of something inside-out to be able to teach “anyone” some things. There will always be someone who can ask a curly question that innocently challenges the true understanding the trainer has of the concept. Turning knowledge into skill is the only way to do that properly.

  25. Since I am a Teacher at heart, I would begin by teaching–finding the level of the leaner and searching to bring the information from the learner. Educar in Latin, I believe, means to draw from within–not to stuff from without. The trainer is learning to lead from within his learners, as we are being lead from within our experience as to how best to train others. Note we are answering questions about each lesson, rather than being told what is most important.

  26. One great experience I had in the RAAF as to training new people to the Squadron how to understand and repair the electronic systems in the aircraft. This totally change my ideas of skills needed to be an effective leader as now I had a understanding of a totally different variable that I don’t think I would have appreciated -training people and checking their understanding both form them and the end customer which in this case was their Managers.
    In my current workplace, I really need to more effective with CAP 4 Commitment to Action as there are currently no consequences for people who do not comply with the new guidelines, resulting in continual relearning. Further to this, there is no reinforcing of this need from higher up Managers.

  27. All of these are brilliant principles, having done a few train the trainer courses these are very effective even at branch level having the staff that I have trained now training the newer staff and being able to see their own progression is very rewarding.

  28. 2. The virtue of virtuosity. I am a great believer that if you truly understand and can demonstrate a skill, thinking ,or anything that the people you are trying to teach will respect and be more engaged if the teacher has actual skills and understanding in said lesson.
    So for me that is what I think is the most important.

  29. You need to Plan, do, check & act. Don’t leave a trainee out on a limb with no knowledge of what is expected of them, in what time frame. Check their progress and adjust if required. Positive reinforcement boosts confidence and encourages an even better performance.

  30. 1. Learning by teaching – This is a tool I use to train myself. This reinforces what I have learnt by passing it on. Encouraging others to teach what they have learnt reinforces what they have learnt and encourages teamwork and training through the ranks.

  31. Guys can you please help me here, How can the use of problem solving help teachers to teach in ways that consisted with the principles of CAPS ?

  32. acquire the skill first, then and only then can you impart your knowledge. then approach willing members to embrace the training. listen watch feed back then continue to practice.

  33. Learning by teaching others is a great way to make sure you have a full understanding yourself. If you are able to coach others it is helping you to learn and grow. Then others can coach others and gain a better understanding as well.

  34. The CAP process ensure that the knowledge is converted into actionable skill ; it is improved and shared with more brains to further improve. This approach at work if implemented can create an open, sharing environment with feedback loops. Also important for a leader to nurture such environment where you are not just sitting in an ivory tower but also participating in uplifting the team’s performance.

  35. Taking together these six principles will significantly improve my chance of acquiring both cognitive and practical skills..
    By using CAP, I can imagine how people’s skills will be changed and become different in both quality and use.
    CAP can help people to upgrade or maybe rebuild their learning capabilities.

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