HomeNewsArticle Display

Air University rolls out new ALS curriculum

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala.(AFNS) -- When pencils go down and scores go up, senior Airmen across the Air Force check to see their line number. Out of thousands, a name they recognize as their own shows up and when the dust they kicked up from clicking their heels finally settles, a unit first sergeant, commander or supervisor lets them know when they’ll be headed to Airman Leadership School.

Academic experts at the Barnes Center took a look at the ALS curriculum and decided a new, modernized plan was overdue. Several of the more than 60 Airman Leadership Schools around the world are currently testing the course ahead of the Air Force-wide release scheduled for June 5.

“We’ve completely rebuilt the curriculum,” said Tech. Sgt. Michael Heming, Barnes Center for Enlisted Education instructional systems designer. “We sought input from officers, enlisted of all grades and sister services. We looked at what 21st century Airmen need to get out of ALS and molded a new curriculum around those ideas. We wanted to find the right balance between education and training, so we removed a few things that are handled at the unit level like bullet writing and feedback.”

Among other changes were the removal of the final exam, various written assignments and marching. These were replaced with four graded performance tasks and a capstone simulation at the end. The new course relies heavily on student research and student-led discussions, emphasizing creative problem-solving, communication and an openness to other perspectives. These concepts are rooted in the four “universal outcomes” of PME: the mission, leadership, problem solving and Air Force culture.

“We, as PME instructors, are educators,” said Tech. Sgt. Dan Sims, Maxwell Air Force Base ALS instructor. “We only have students in our classroom for roughly four weeks, so we are focused on giving the Airmen the leadership skills and knowledge they will need to be successful leaders in their career field.”

The student-centered lessons revolve around discussion and group exercises. Instructors facilitate the conversation to ensure it stays on task, leaning on relevant experiences from the students.

“After teaching for two years, it’s a very new delivery method,” Sims said. “It’s great to see lesson concepts linked together by the students without me having to guide them directly to the connection. The conversation is more positive and relatable for them.”

As part of the pool of bases in the initial trial, Maxwell AFB Airmen have received a first-hand look at the new curriculum.

“My favorite part of the course has been the open discussion,” said Staff Sgt. Jacob Gilson, Maxwell AFB ALS student. “I get to speak my mind and see things from different perspectives. We’re taught the concept and talk about it and, with the exam being gone, we won’t be just studying to ‘brain dump’ as soon as the test is over. Having the capstone (simulation) instead means we’ll have to use what we learned.”


Facebook Twitter
.@AFResearchLab scientists and engineers recently visited universities throughout Israel to learn about their techn… https://t.co/Tzlc3XYd9s
.@ConorDaly22 won’t be the only one representing the #USAF in #Indianapolis this weekend! We're coming to… https://t.co/M6Ni3ClXTw
.@USArmy ground liaison officers assist intel #Airmen, ensuring globally networked sites work together to provide w… https://t.co/qKYKKZ0ptm
RT @JoJoScienceShow: I had fun time doing a science experiment with the Secretary of the Air Force @secafofficial and General Wilson at the…
Sometimes it takes a different perspective to discover a new way of thinking. @HQ_AFMC's Continued Process Improvem… https://t.co/lBMmAyyLoy
RT @SecAFOfficial: When I was visiting Aviano recently, the issue of spouse employment overseas came up and things we might be able to do t…
A1C Giovanni Wilson, @TeamEglin Honor Guard, holds the bugle during the 50th Annual Explosive Ordnance Disposal mem… https://t.co/E0lzJJ1hdd
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Thanks for allowing me to be a part of the groundbreaking ceremony. https://t.co/gqrfhHrkPH
Over 900 #USAF #JROTC cadets participated in the National High Scholl Drill Team Competition, bringing home 84 of t… https://t.co/p9HgxikMhu
.@AirNatlGuard #Airmen lead the way in Joint Incident Site Communications Capability training. @PANationalGuardhttps://t.co/QaVosQ8Yi3
#ICYMI, @GenDaveGoldfein joined by @NATO partners and others honored the 20th anniversary of Operation Allied Force… https://t.co/XfEy6SZL6e
.@AFResearchLab accomplishes “shocking” materials technology breakthrough. https://t.co/zTEV4Q1NoC https://t.co/9cmA1qsGsJ
Developed by @GenDaveGoldfein & refined by @AFResearchLab, the AERONet prototype could provide combat insight to al… https://t.co/ShLHFgNicC
RT @DeptofDefense: During the Berlin Airlift in WWII, as U.S. and British pilots flew supplies to the isolated city, one @USAirForce pilot…
RT @DeptofDefense: #ICYMI: @POTUS and @FLOTUS honored military moms at the @WhiteHouse on Friday. Wishing a happy #MothersDay to all the mo…