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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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