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. Learning by teaching is the foundation of Training and instructing. As both Trainer and Instructor I do it everyday. At every class I ask my students to teach someone else. If they are able to do this, then they know the basics of what they are teaching and demonstrating. Also by being with another student as Teacher they are learning often without realizing it. Perfect Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. Practice, Practice, Practice and Practice again.

  2. An understanding of principle 2 will help me to become a better leader by showing me that to simply know a thing does not give the ability to do that thing. It takes time, practice, and repetition to take knowledge into skill.

  3. learning by teaching i have found in my experience to be the most powerfull way of learning, as not only do you have to know the subject but also have to be very fluent in the topic to be able to pass on the knowledge and answer questions which are on different lines from the way one person normally thinks.

  4. No. 1 really stood out to me! How can you debate a point to win the other over to your way of thinking if you don’t ‘know it internally’ yourself!

    But I also realize the need to return to the written daily planner for tasks, activities, etc.

    Thank you!

  5. Learning by teaching, in my experience, is key to self reinforcement of a skill. It provides the trainer clear insight into the operation of the principles of the knowledge to skill process itself, specifically when the trainer must create several different approaches to communicate this process to others in order that each person receives and understands the message.

  6. Catching people doing the ‘right thing’ as opposed to catching them doing the ‘wrong thing’ is a powerfulleadership and teaching tool

  7. With every overall objective there needs to be a strategy, actions and an outcome. The 6 CAP principles makes this achieveable and consistant.

  8. Effective follow up is essential. It makes staff feel valued and it provides you, the trainer, with important feedback so that you can tinker with your program. An absolute necessity. To not do it is to have your head in the sand!

  9. I hear and I forget
    I see and I believe
    I do and I understand

    All 6 stages are necessary for a successful implementation of putting learning into action.
    I would count step 1 teaching as crucial for the thorough understanding of knowledge.
    By repetition and feedback, a person can progress to skilled or even genius level in a particular endevour.

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