Today, Major Willem Goes successfully defended his master thesis, entitled: ‘Trainers in Training – Ownership of professional development’.
The thesis project was done within a unit of the Defence Force, and more specifically for the paramedical and medical professionals within the Military Health Care organization. The project was carried out to develop a framework for professional development of the trainers within the organization. The role of trainer is a temporary role which rotates over all staff. The Ministry of Defence has opted for a didactical philosophy called profession-oriented training, which is an elaboration of competence-based education. Using the decision-making process which is standard in the organization, a model for continuous professional development was developed. A sounding-board group, literature study, workshops, a questionnaire, participation in internal evaluations by trainers, and a semi-structured interview were combined to get a picture of the present and to define the desired situation. It was decided that the framework should be based on the following principles: 1. The framework should enable a process approach; 2. Learning should be possible from and within the context of the profession; 3. Trainers should own their development and get guidance with that; 4. Trainers should be able to learn from and with each other; 5. The process should be sufficiently challenging to get into action. Furthermore, five criteria were formulated based on which alternative solutions were assessed 1. Trainers should have a decisive voice in choosing the goals of their professional development; 2. Trainers play an active role; 3. Long term coaching after a skills training is provided; 4. Ownership is supported by guidance; 5. The development trajectories will be flexible. Based on this, three alternative solutions were proposed, from which one was chosen and elaborated. A prevaluation (expert appraisal) was conducted, and the framework which was developed was pilot-tested with the first new trainer. The results of the pilot-test look promising. The aim is to disseminate the framework for professional development of trainers within the whole Defence healthcare training organization. Congratulations Willem Goes with this wonderful project which you carried out in a very professional way! Many thanks Dr. Martijn van Schaik for your assessment of the thesis.