Learning Missions at the Civil Air Patrol

Concurrent Session 4

Brief Abstract

The Civil Air Patrol is a national volunteer organization. CAP has a significant challenge in meeting the training needs of its mission and members. This presentation discusses the different learning missions of the organization and describes the PAINT Loop strategic model used to foster continuous improvement within all learning efforts.


Jared is the Learning Design Manager of the Civil Air Patrol. In this role he provides leadership and guidance to all areas of the organization regarding online and digital learning. Beginning in 2005 Jared has worked with online courses and programs in a variety of different capacities from instructing to constructing. Prior to joining CAP he was an instructional designer at Auburn-Montgomery, working with faculty to develop online courses, conducting extensive technology tr. Before that he was an eLearning Specialist at the Savannah College of Art and Design where he focused on training faculty new to the online environment, and provided Blackboard integration for course materials. After moving to AUM in 2010 he began working in the role of Instructional Designer, working directly with faculty members to construct online courses. Jared continues to train faculty in technology and pedagogy of the online environment. In design, he looks for opportunities to provide interaction points between students and faculty, and enjoys experimenting with new concepts. In courses he teaches, he focuses on giving students things to do in the online environment besides read, watch, or listen.

Extended Abstract


The Civil Air Patrol is the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, a volunteer organization made up of more than 60,000 members world wide. CAP was founded in 1941 to aid in national defense and after being incorporated by congressional charter in 1946 has become a premiere organization of public service. The three core missions of CAP are Aerospace Education, youth development through our Cadet Programs, and Emergency Services including search and rescue efforts, support during natural disasters, and many other areas of community need. To support the organizations members in these efforts significant training, testing, and certification efforts have been developed over the years. With the rise of the internet, and explosion of online learning, CAP has shifted much of its educational focus to provide courses and training in that environment.

The Learning Design for the Missions of CAP

Each of the core program areas of CAP, Aerospace Education, Cadet Programs, and Emergency Services along with professional development training for adult members, and for corporate employees require a different strategic approach to learning in order to best serve them. A one size fits all program would never meet the needs of all of them, and attempting to make one would most likely end up meeting the needs of none.

In order to best serve all learning initiatives, CAP came up with a strategic model that will evaluate learning and establish the efforts required to improve it. Because existing courses and other training must remain available to keep the organization running, a traditional front-loaded approach to course analysis and development is unfeasible.


The solution to the problem was to create an ongoing improvement loop that would address any given learning initiative where it stood in the present, and make the simplest change that would present the greatest impact to learners and the organization. There are four stages in the CAP Learning Loop:

  1. Presence
  2. Alignment
  3. INteraction
  4. Technology

The PAINT Loop allows every unit in the organization to examine their learning programs whether it be a face to face training for Cadets, asynchronous elearning for Seniors, or a new process training for staff, and then quickly find an improvement that will benefit the organization and its members. By allowing all training initiatives to move along at their own pace a culture of continuous improvement is created while maintaining existing functions, and never allowing perfect to be the enemy of good.

Traditional models of instructional design or process improvement are ineffective for an organization like CAP for several reasons. The first is the size and scope of the organization, with more than 55,000 continuous members and hundreds of training programs, courses, and learning initiatives it is simply not possible to conduct a full scale ID or HPI program on every single one within any timeframe reasonable enough to be effective.

The Civil Air Patrol is continuing forward as a premiere volunteer organization for youth and adults. Supporting that mission with world class learning programs is the primary of focus of our learning design. This presentation will show you how very large organizations that must meet the differing needs of many different stakeholders, can still construct learning programs that are effective and current even with limited resources and time.

Learning Objectives

After this presentation attendees will be able to:

Describe the Civil Air Patrol and its three primary missions

Summarize the PAINT Loop Process Steps

Explain the primary goal of each step within the PAINT Loop

Compare the PAINT Loop model to existing Instructional Design and Human Performance Improvement models.