TRAINING--Self-Paced Ground-Water Concepts Course (G0761-S)

In Reply Refer To:                                 March 18, 1992
Mail Stop 411


Subject:  TRAINING--Self-Paced Ground-Water Concepts Course (G0761-S)

The purpose of this memorandum is to provide information on the background and
development of the Self-Paced Ground-Water Concepts Course, to show its
importance in the overall training in ground-water hydrology for the Division,
and to give recognition to those individuals who have contributed to the
success of the course.

The Self-Paced Ground-Water Concepts Course began in fiscal year 1984.  The
course is an adaptation of a 2-week ground-water concepts course (G0761) that
has been taught for a number of years at the National Training Center.  The
concepts course is designed to be a "second level" quantitative ground-water
hydrology course and is a logical prerequisite to the ground-water modeling
courses that are offered at the training center.

A series of technical notes on special topics were written specifically for the
self-paced version of the course to partially replace the exceptional cadre of
instructors that are used in the 2-week version.  In addition, each participant
is assigned an advisor who is an experienced hydrologist within the Water
Resources Division (WRD), preferably within the participant's office or
district, who has either taken one version of the course or otherwise has the
formal training and experience to provide guidance for the course.  The role of
the advisor is to monitor the progress of the participant, to give
encouragement, to answer questions, and to examine the participant's answers to
the six problem sets in the course.  Generally, no more than two participants
are assigned to an advisor.  Six text books and copies of a number of out-of-
print publications were added to the course materials.  In all, more than 30
references are cited and used in the self-paced version of the concepts course.

A "cycle" of the course is offered at the start of each fiscal year and is
designed to be completed in 9 to 12 months if a participant can work on it 4 or
more hours per week.  Because district responsibilities and work loads can vary
considerably, we will allow, on a case-by-case basis, as much as 2 years for
completion of the course.  If a participant is not finished--or nearly
finished--after 2 years, their name will be removed from the roles.

The 2-week version of the course has been one of the mainstays of the WRD
ground-water training program for many years.  The self-paced version was
introduced in 1984 as an attempt to make the training available to more
individuals and to permit an alternative method of teaching ground-water and
modeling concepts.  Both versions of the course have been very well received.

The 2-week version has the advantage of offering a 2-week period away from
district activities where the participants can fully devote themselves to the
training.  However, some participants find that the rapid pace of this version
of the course is rather intense.  The self-paced version of the course has the
advantages of allowing the participants to proceed at their own pace, to read
the more than 30 references for a more complete coverage of ground-water
concepts, and to acquire reference materials for use in their work after the
course has been completed.  The principal disadvantage of the self-paced
version over the 2-week version is that the participant does not have constant
access to, and encouragement from, a cadre of instructors, and therefore must
be sufficiently self disciplined to devote time each week to the course to
finish within 9 to 12 months.  In addition, the participant's supervisor and
District Chief must view the self-paced course in the same light as training
given at the National Training Center, that is, they should allow the
participant an equivalent amount of "company" time to work on the self-paced
version as they would allow if the participant attended the 2-week version at
the training center.

As of March 12, 1992, 238 people had completed or are currently taking the
course (table 1, attachment 1).  The table also shows the number of
participants by organizational unit.  About two-thirds of the participants in
cycles 1 through 5  have successfully completed the course (table 2, attachment

The distribution of the present course advisors by organizational unit are
shown in table 3 (attachment 1).  Most of the advisors are in the district
offices and include one District Chief.  Three advisors are in the National
Research Program and three are in the Office of Ground Water.

The continued interest in this course after 7 years of its being offered
indicates that the combination of the self-paced design, with the availability
of a course advisor results in a method of training that fills a definite
need.  Based on comments of course advisors, participants' supervisors, and
critiques from the participants, the course is successful in presenting ground-
water and modeling concepts.

Many individuals deserve recognition for their contribution to the development
of the Self-Paced Ground-Water Concepts Course.  The course problems, which
form the nucleus of the course materials, were generated by a melding of the
ideas and work of many individuals, especially those who have served as
instructors of the two-week course at the National Training Center over the
years.  Robert L. Laney of the Office of Ground Water has provided exceptional
leadership and coordination for the course since it began in 1984.  The
operational success of the Self-Paced Ground-Water Concepts Course is due in
large part to the course advisors who volunteer time from their busy schedules
to provide guidance, encouragement, and technical support to the participants
taking the course.  We want to hereby thank and recognize the more than 60
individuals who have served or are currently serving as course advisors (table
4, attachment 1).

                                      Joseph S. Rosenshein
                                      Acting Chief, Office of
                                      Ground Water


WRD Distribution A, B, S, FO, P