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NEWS | April 13, 2016

The Army Learning Model gets the wheels turning at Regional Training Site-Maintenance-Fort Devens

By Master Sgt. Benari Poulten, 80th Training Command Public Affairs 80th Training Command

Spc. Abraham Keith had never considered himself much of a mechanic before he arrived at Regional Training Site Maintenance-Fort Devens, Mass. The Reserve Soldier works as a cook in his civilian life, so in his hometown of Birmingham, Ala., he spends more time fixing meals instead of cars.

Keith attended the 80th Training Command's Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic Course at RTSM-Devens, and by the final week of the first phase, he was taking apart the engine block of a Humvee along with his fellow students. The three-week course teaches students the basics of maintaining and repairing four-wheeled military vehicles like Humvees and Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles.

"At first, I couldn't get it," said Kieth, who's currently assigned to the 318th Chemical Company. "It was new to me. I just felt like, aw man, I'm not going to be able to do this."

Keith learned his new mechanical skills with assistance from other students and by staying late with his instructors.

"I was paired with people that knew [mechanics] and it just really helped," he said.

The concept of incorporating students' knowledge, skills, and experiences in the classroom stems from the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command's 2015 Army Learning Model. The ALM reduces instructor-led slide presentations for a more facilitative approach designed for adult students.

"He's learning more every day," said Sgt. 1st Class Jorge Gonzalez, a course instructor. "His teammates, his classmates … the students themselves are actually teaching him."

Gonzales said, he believes that instructors and students both sharing their experiences provide a vibrant atmosphere of learning. Teaching others gets rid of fear, which makes an individual a stronger person, and a stronger non-commissioned officer, he added.

Keith said, learning to not to doubt himself was the most important lesson he learned at RTSM-Devens.

"If you think that's it, [then] say it," Keith said. "If it's not, then they're here to help you because you are here to learn."