Adaptive Thinking Program

What is important is that the mind should be sensitive to problems and skilled in the methods of attack and solution. (Dewy, 1910)

We are currently working on an interactive course on adaptive thinking. This section outlines the course. If you would like to know more or would like to see if the subject suits your business, please contact us.

One of the key competencies of personnel that work in a high-reliability organisation is to have good decision-making ability. Research has been undertaken to develop a greater understanding of how people in positions such as fireground commanders, nurses, nuclear power station operators and battleground commanders made real-world decisions. Most have agreed that Naturalistic Decision Making (NDM) is used by experienced commanders and operators in making decisions. The NDM framework emerged from situations marked by time pressure, uncertainty, vague goals, high stakes, team and organisational constraints, changing conditions, and varying amounts of experience.

Further research suggests that commanders make decisions in operational environments that are; ill-structured problems, dynamic environments, shifting goals, feedback loops, time stress, high stakes, multiple players, and organisational goals. Moreover, it was found that commanders acted and reacted to situations based on prior experiences and rarely deliberated about decisions relying on their ability to recognise and classify a situation. Since the development of NDM, researchers have found that another theme to NDM has emerged; how people use expertise to make decisions.

The question is how organisations prepare new and up-and-coming commanders that have no or minimal experience in real-life situations. In 2003 the Armed Forces Research Unit worked with the military and developed the ‘Think like a Commander’ (TLAC) course. This course used new methodologies for training directed at developing adaptive commanders. The new theory is known as Adaptive Thinking Training Methodology (ATTM), which employs exercises that provide opportunities for learners to develop adaptive thinking habits through a process of responding to a situation presented in an exercise and comparing their thinking with the thinking of experts.

The conditions placed on personnel that work in a high-reliability organisation do not differ from those required by the military. The TLAC course has been previously modified for use with Federal, State and Local crisis response agencies in the United States. This concept paper outlines how a course can be developed and produced using ATTM and using the teaching methodology of the TLAC course.

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