The Armed Services and Adult Education


by Cyril O. Houle, Elbert W. Burr, Thomas H. Hamilton  ad Joh R. Yale for the Commision on Implications of Armed Services Education Programs


American Council on Education  Washington DC {e-mail them to ask for notes}


[pg 184 Ref 185 flashcards! put induction words on overhead and handout copies of it and inductees.  Show “Why we fight!” Show 135, 136 how this war developed]

[good footnotes:  Pg 88, 13,127, 184!, 187, 193, 211 Get “History of Military Training; History of the Army Education Branch” (on file in the Historical Division, War Department Special Staff). 


Introduction:  The Nature and Scope of the Study

“At the close of World War II, the twelve million men and women on active duty in the armed services of the United States had available for their use the most extensive adult education program in our nation’s history.”


...the largest school of correspondence instruction in the world enrolled one million students in its United States Armed Forces Institute USAFI


The enlistees being “civilians in uniform” meant that vocational education was important to them.



Though largely developed by adult educators and having unique military attributes, the program’s success carries lessons for civilian life.




In World War I the need for off duty-education was realized and initially the YMCA financed it.  Later the YMCA education officers were transferred into an Army Education Corp.


In the Army (during World War II) the major share of responsibility for the program’s development was borne by the Information and Education Division of the Armed Service Forces.  In the Navy the Educational Services Section of the Bureau of Naval Personnel  was primarily responsible for the Navy’s off-duty program.


There were local modifications and supplemental materials developed to meet the needs of the local populations.  But Washington made the direction theirs. 

Definitions and limitations

Plan of the Study



I.                   HISTORY AND PURPOSES

The original impetus for such programs was morale.  While you must work as a unit in the military, you never cease to be an individual person with needs both emotional and intellectual. 









United States Armed Forces Institute

Prior to July 1943, a two-dollar fee was charged enlisted men for each Institute course taken.  After that date, enlisted personnel paid only a registration fee of two dollars for the first enrollment in USAFI courses.  No additional fee was required as long as satisfactory progress was maintained. 


Educational supplies were stocked at ports of embarkation, and overseas requisitions were filled from port stock.  Finally all was shipped from a central distribution center in Madison Wisconsin. 

by the end of 1944 eleven million education manuals had been procured.


In January 1944, personnel being held as prisoners of war were permitted to beome members of USAFI without a payment of fees. By June of 1945, 100,000 education manuals and 13,000 USAFI correspondence courses had been furnished in Europe and 3,000 education manuals and 2,000 correspondence courses for POWs in Jap camps.


Textbooks being too bulky and shipping in homework impractical, textbooks with sufficient instructions for study, opportunities for self-evaluation, and simplified explanations of the text were needed to keep servicemen interested in their study.  These were developed at Indiana University. initiated to meet further needs in the European and Mediterranean theater and the anticipated needs of the Pacific.


By February 1945, procurement of approximately 10,700,000 education manuals was initiated to meet further needs.  Before January 1946 five and a half million were on hand waiting to go to the Pacific and 8 million more were being procured. 


They also started to recommend an Army education program to be conducted in inactive theaters following cessation of hostilities.  The phase was to be known as the Army Education Program or AEP.  This non-combat material had to be different than the combat material, they found after first expecting the opposite.  The texts had to be more like the civilian texts. 


AEP created Vocational Information Kits.  These had six standard texts and 50 adjusted (self teaching texts left over from the Army Specialized Training Division) and over 400 pamphlets organized into 73 major fields.  About the size of a filing cabinet, 10,000 VIKs were purchased and distributed by the end of 1945.


In 42 what was to become the USAFI made three major types of exams.  End-of-the-course tests, general proficiency in a subject exams, and general education level tests.  Then, in Feb 1942, the American Council on Education published the bulletin, Sound Educational Credit for Military Experience.  It recommended that schools and colleges use these exams (rather than blank credit for serving) for credit allocation and placement.

After some months it was realized that the tests would be so widely used that it would become unwieldy.  The army would have to serve as a clearing house.  


The total cumulative in September 30, 1945 was 648,227 Enrolled and 1,493,337 lessons served.  This stat is in a chart. 


But in the text we find the following, “It is known, however, that the enrollments in correspondence courses in June 1944 numbered some 250,000 while attendance in locally organized classes was more than twice that number.    Total enrollments in June 1945, were 866, 000.  Enrollments in the Army alon in August 1945 indicated that there were 575,000 individuals active at that time.  Considering locally organized classes, probably over 2,000,000 members of the armed forces made use of study materials distributed by USAFI and by the Navy, while individual enrollments in correspondence courses and self-teaching courses totaled more than 1,250,000 including Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps. 


Upon return to civil life of the first 7,000 veteran applicants for accreditation, 98 percent obtained some high school credit, with 28 percent being awarded diplomas.  Out of every 100 applicants for college credit, 95 obtained credit, with 20 receiving diplomas.” PG 97-98)


About 35% of all USAFI enrollees were Navy (50% of the college and university extension courses). 


The Marine Corps loyalties kept their numbers low (in terms of USAFI).  No marine could take a USAFI course that the Marine Corps already offered an alternative to. 




Locally organized classes----------------------------------

Often these were taught by members of ones own unit in crude facilities without adequate materials.  All was set up on the basis of student interest as all was voluntary.  These local guides were used as templates for the development of the overseas programs. 


In New Guinea they had the G I Jungle school.  Locally organize schools proved to be effective solutions for problems of morale and discipline and satisfying avenues for maintaing the active interest of military personnel. 

Interest was reflected in that class attendance fell off less than the attendance of team members in athletic games.( Italy 12th air force).  Such programs blossomed everywhere with informal structure before the formal one came in. 


In 1943 discussion materials were prepared and given to officers for implementation.  Reader’s digest made it and on edition was titled “camp talk”  Though popular, they were discontinued “because of the uncertainties regarding the consequences of offering discussion materials which probably would present at times very pungent or very controversial points of view, it was decided to discontinue this project” Pg 110


But the need was still there.  So in late Spring of 1944 the American Historical Association with the approval of the Secretary of War created the G.I. Roundtable.


Early 1945 the Chief of the Army Education Branch, returning from overseas was worried about the unfavorable impression (verbally and in newspaper articles) the army personnel were getting about the European peoples, particularly France.  We made G.I. Discussions around various cultural differences. 


------Voluntary classes

The voluntary tuition free classes became guided by Educational Services Officers.  They used the guidelines in the Educational Services Manual to set up these schools.


------- Self –Instruction

“It is estimated that during 1944 well over half a million men availed themselves of these manuals to continue their studies.” Pg 117


Need for Post – Hostilities Education

“Forced drill , when the reason for he drill had largely or completely disappeared, was no more than busy work, and amusement and recreation was not likely to restrain natural restlessness.

            The only dependable answer was an education program that would prepare military personnel for resumption of life and work as civilians.” Pg121


While the maintenance of morale and discipline were the immediate objectives of this post-hostilities program, its long-range objective was the preparation of military personnel for civilian life.   WIN-WIN situation.


It was a combo of vocational and academic study stuff.  By December 44 they were making the booklet “Your Postwar Career”; the mimeographed “Educational Advisory Manual”; an education film, “Your Next Job”; the Vocational Information Kit referred to earlier; the G.I. Roundtable entitled “Will There Be Work for All?  and an Occupational Brief series. 

An attempt was made to spread the procurement among as many colleges and over as wide a geographical area as possible.  Procurement of civilians to talk about employment came from different sector and areas and gave folks a realistic picture of the opportunities that awaited them.   

By February 1, 1946, 35,000 had attended the university centers set up to prepare the men for readjustment.  An estimated 500,000 had to some degree been affected by the school unit program.


VJ Day followed VE Day by three months only.  The sudden ending of the war created enormous problems of transfer and demobilization of men.  General Eisenhower called it a “near hysteria” of mobilization.  People wanted to get home more than they wanted to get readjusted. 



Military  leaders became aware, as WW II pressed on, as to how much morale mattered.  A well-oriented and well-informed soldier was a better fighter. 


It became apparent too, that initial orientation providd in basic and recruit training was more effective when followed up with orientation and information activities in overseas camps and bases, close to the battlefronts of the world.


----------- Early Orientation Efforts-------------------

In June of 1942, the orientation became an Army Service Forces function under he direction of Special Service.  The orientation course was divided into two branches: Education and Information.  Education was responsible for administering the introductory lectures and for arranging the lectures by civilians.  Information was responsible for the publication of Newsmap and the production of orientation films. 


“During the summer of 1942, for example, the Research Branch completed a report on the effectiveness of orientation lectures and films.  This report, typical of many prepared by the Branch, covered “the experimental comparison of the usual lecture-method presentation and of presentation of comparable material by means of motion picture film with accompanying commentary.”  Effectiveness was defined in the enlisted man’s store of knowledge of factual information on a subject itself; and (2) to change the men’s attitudes and opinions in a desired direction – for instance, to improve their regard for one of our allies.” 132


“The results of the study showed that “both factual information and emotional attitudes are influenced to a greater degree by a brief film presentation than by the usual form of presentation lecture, and that it requires an outstanding lecturer to equal the film in effectiveness.”  The report suggested that a combination of film and lecture or film supplemented by questions and discussions would prove more effective than either medium used aloe.  The fact that films were a superior medium had long been known, but the study revealed that an excellent lecturer could still match and at times outstrip a film.” 132


1942 surveys by the Research Branch on over 15,000 men (representative of the 500,000 in the Army Ground Forces) shoed that lack of understanding of the war and lack of conviction about the national objectives were still fairly widespread. 


By the summer of 1942, the orientation program had received considerable public attention, most of it favorable.  Yet the initial suspicions that the Army intended to remold American youth into undesirable patterns were still present to a certain extent despite the objectivity of the orientation efforts. 


August of 1942 they made the decision to have the orientation films called “why we fight”.


Should the question of the abilities of Negro troops arise, the orientation officer would find:

   problems of race are a proper concern of the Army only so far as they affect the efficiency of the Army, no ore, no less.

     But another paragraph in the “Guide to the Use of Information Materials” contains the following statement:


   To contribute by act or word towards the increase of misunderstanding, suspicion, and tension between peoples of different racial or national origin in this country or among our Allies is to help the enemy.


Altogether nine orientation kits were issued with at least one issue reaching a total number of 65,000. 


-------------------------Information Activities-----------------

“Yank” was first issued in June 1942 with a printing of 175,000 copies.  By August of 45 its circulation had risen to 2,400,000.  Nearly a thousand men submitted stories, poems or cartoons and nearly 1500 men wrote to the editor each week.  


The Armed Forces Radio Service was the largest broadcasting system the world had ever seen.  There were 177 Army broadcast stations plus 50 foreign government stations.


Film was, of course, also used extensively.


“There was not much doubt that a war orientation program was needed.  Those who first started trying to impart some knowledge about the nature of the war to the personnel of the Navy were astonished to find that many men were serving their country at the time of its greatest need without any understanding of either the meaning or responsibility of citizenship or democracy.  Many men in uniform were unacquainted with even the simplest facts of geography and sociology, and their knowledge about American history in World War I was sketchy, to say the least.  They were also ignorant of the functioning of representative governments and the responsibilities of their citizenry.” 142-43


At this time a training center in Bainbridge, Maryland, was having some trouble with men seeking discharge by pretending to be psychoneurotics.  Many felt that improper attitude toward the war was to blame.  They were given daily talks.  At the end of the trial period, a great many men in the ward asked to be returned to active duty.  Immediately the inclusion of war orientation as an integral item of recruit training all boot camps was ordered.


Sometimes the orientation happened in the mess halls, other times in offices other times in the orientation program.





“During World War II, books, magazines, and entire libraries went to war along with America’s armed services.  Some 500,000 books were purchased by the Army Library Service for the convoy ships which carried the North African invasion forces.  WAC’s in New Guinea kept up with the latest fashions at home through reading current American magazines in their day rooms and barracks libraries.  Sailors aboard a ship had libraries stocked with a minimum selection of a book per man.  Marines in inactive theaters had available wid ranges of books on technical subjects provided by the Navy Library Section.  Supplies of new books were augmented with large numbers of readable volumes contributed by American citizens in Victory Book campaigns.” 151


            Where these libraries were established, and in fact wherever Army and Navy library facilities were available, the men and women of our armed forces read books and magazines, many of them more extensively than ever before.  Without these facilites, the off-duty education programs would have been seriously limited in their effectiveness in providing educational programs for service personnel. 





Taking into account the experiences gained in World War I, provision was made I the autumn of 1940 for the organization of special training battalions at reception centers.  But no special training organizations were established in 1940.  Such directives were not issued for several reasons.  First of all, the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940.  Such directives were not issued for several reasons.  First of all, the Selective Training and Service act of 1940, approved by the President  on September 16, 1940, was a peacetime conscription law, and real dangers did not yet beset the country.  Consequently, the size of the manpower problem was not fully appreciated.  Second, there was little realization of the extent of such special problems as illiteracy in the population.  And, third, the prime job of the army was to expand. 


            Those drafted in November 1940, were, therefore, inducted into the military service if they were able to meet physical standards and “to understand simple orders given in the English language.”  Between October 1940 and May 1941, there were 6,374 persons inducted into the Army who could neither read nor write.  In addition, there were approximately 60,000 near-illiterates.  This situation soon brought about a modification of policy, made on May 15, 1941:


            “No registrant in continental Unites States will be inducted into the military service who does not have the capacity of reading and writing the English language as commonly prescribed for the fourth grade in grammar school.  All registrants who have not completed the fourth grade in grammar school will be examined at induction stations prior to induction by means of tests to be prescribed by the War Department.” 173

Mobilization Regulation 1-7, Reception of Selective Service Men, Change No. 9 (April 18, 1941).


            A war department letter dated July 28, 1941, directed that a special training unit be established at each replacement training center.  These units were organized to train those illiterate, on-English-speaking and slow learning men who were already in the Army.

            The deferment of illiterates continued until August 1, 1942.  By that time, manpower needs were so great that it was no longer possible to overlook the 200,000 men otherwise fit.


Effective August 1, 1942, therefore, induction stations were authorized to accept for induction, on any day, illiterates in numbers not to exceed 10 percent of the white and 10 percent of the colored registrants of sufficient intelligence to absorb military training rapidly. 


            Soon this overtaxed the housing facilities available at the replacement training centers.  It became necessary therefore, in November 1942, to direct army, corps, service command, division or others to establish special training units within their command.  In February 1943 the Army reduced from 10 to 5 percent the number of illiterate and non-English-Speaking men who could be inducted on a given day.

            Several major changes in policy took place, effective June 1, 1943.  The great need for additional manpower resulted in the removal of all limitations governing the percentage of illiterates to be inducted.  At the same time, new screening and testing procedures were adopted to screen out dummies. 

            A War Department letter dated September 21, 1945, directed that the induction of illiterates be discontinued. 

            By January 1946, the last of the special training units was closed.


---------------------Examination Procedures----------------

There are no reliable figures of the number of men who received special literacy training prior to June 1 of 1943.  The data after are entirely valid.  

The data which are available prior to June 1, 1943, indicates that there were approximately 107,075 illiterates (inclusive of non-English-speaking men) inducted between Aug 42 and May 43.  During this period it was 64 percent white and the remainder Negro. 

            There were 685,362 Grade V men inducted between March 1, 41 and June 1, 43.  Probably this group included a lot of illiterates due to the screening processes.  Of grade Vs during this period, 60 percent were white, the rest black.

            Between June 1, 1943 and October 1 1945 there were 217,053 illiterates and 82,006 grade V men accepted in the army.  These 299, 059 represented 10.8% inducted.  The white illiterate grade Vs were 6.6 % of the whites.  The Negroes, 43.3%.  The fourth and eighth Service commands contributed the most. 

            As a rule, the men in special training units had notably poor social and emotional adaptations.  Great numbers had never emancipated themselves from the immediate family unit and were unprepared to function as members of larger social units.  The AWOL rate among stu personnel was greater than for personnel of other units.  They had more trouble understanding their presence in the Army.  They didn’t show as much initiative or assume as many responsibilities. 


---------------Development of Academic Training Materials------------------

“Army Life” was the first text adapted due to lack of available materials.  By August 1942 it was replaced by the “Soldier’s Reader”.  Supplementing these was the “Manual for Teachers of Adult Elementary Students.”  “Our War” was a monthly news periodical with fun stuff too that was written at a third and fourth grade level.  a filmstrip, “Special Training in Reading, Writing and Arithmetic” provided drill on commonly used military words. 


Nov. 1942 saw “your job in the Army” which listed army jobs for STU grads.  And, “Newsmap Supplement” which was a simplified “Newsmap”.


            These were all intimately related to the man’s Army experiences and thus were close to his interests and needs.  And, when possible, the arithmetic, reading and writing were made to overlap in theme.  Practically all fo the special training units developed local materials to meet their own needs.  Among the types of materials prepared were: work books, drill exercises, flash cards, visual aids of various sorts, supplemental reading materials in academic and military subject matter, and instructor’s guides. 


----------------------Organization and Operation of STUs-------------------

Between July 41 to June 43 STUs were at replacement centers.  At one time during this period a count of the number of units showed there were more than 239 separate organizations.  Some numbered less than 5 men. Some more than a thousand. 


The training consisted of two parts: basic military training and educational instruction.  The latter included three hours daily in reading, expression (writing and conversation), and arithmetic.  An eight-week schedule was recommended and the maximum time limit was three months in which to qualify a trainee as literate and capable of assimilating regular training. 


  There were two big reports on this time.  One was done from Jan 16th to February 15th 1943.  118 bases reported and they had 30,592 men.  61% WERE ILLITERATE, 12.5 % non-English, 16.7 grade V, 6.8% physically handicapped and 2.3% personality disorders. 


They had a specially adapted program of military training in special training units  which had a modified rate and sympathetic handling.  Accordingly , they were aided in their adjustment to the Army and prepared for regular training. 


After June 1943, STUs were organized at the reception-center level and the others inactivated.  The typical length of stay was three to five days.  24 units were organized at the reception-center level soon after June 1, 1943.  Each service command had at least one and two service commands had at least six each.    By December 43 the umber wnet down to 19. 


The new program called for 18 hours weekly of academic instruction and thirty hours weekly of preliminary basic military training.  In May 1944 academic was raised to 60% of the time and which now included orientation and current events.  And, in May 44, non-English speakers and Grade V men were separated out. 


The typical illiterate followed the prescribed eight-week schedule.  If he required the full twelve weeks of special training, he could get it.  The program was highly individualized.  Men were forwarded for regular training as soon as they were able to pass the prescribed “graduation tests”  They were honorably discharged once it became apparent that they were incapable of attaining the standards.


----------------------additional Literacy Training Activities-----------------------

There were supplemental teachings for those who went into the service before the full-blown STUs went into effect.  This was to counteract forgetfulness.  It was on off-duty hours and organized by Special Service officers, education officers, and chaplains.


--------------Educational Characteristics of the Program in Special Training Units----

“The program of instruction in STUs was broad and constructive.  Its objectives have been summarized as follows:


1.      To teach the men to read at a fourth-grade level to enable them to comprehend bulletins, written orders and directions, and basic Army publications.

2.      To give the men sufficient language skill to enable them to use and understand such everyday language as is necessary to get along with officers and men in the Army.

3.      To teach the men to do number work at a fourth-grade level to enable them to understand their pay accounts and deductions from it, their laundry bills, and conduct their business in the PX; etc.

4.      To facilitate the adjustment of the men to military training and Army life.

5.      To have the men understand in a general way the reasons which made it necessary for this country to fight Germany, Japan, and Italy.” Page 184


“Fundamentally it was recommended that the men be given a basic stock vocabulary through sight-recognition techniques and a multiple sensory approach; that no new words be taught, the meaning of which the men did not know; and that rich associated meanings be developed in connection with words and phrases.  Excercises and flash cards containing first words, then phrases, and then sentences were recommended to increase the recognition span of the beginning reader.” Pg 185

Written preceded by oral expression.  Spelling and grammar gave way to clarity of expression.  No effort to attain neatness was made. 

Arithmetic was taught in a variety of ways.  Whole numbers were the main course and Both arithmetic computation and reasoning were involved in the solution of may of the situations provided.  Consequently, the soldier was able to derive a better understanding of the meaning of numbers and group relationships.


For men in levels three and four, the tests were often written in very simple language.  When men of the first two levels were tested, true-false questions were generally presented orally and the truth or falsity was indicated by punching a an answer card.  Military drill competence was determined through watching.


Supplementing the military and academic teaching was social adjustment stuff.  Orientation and current-events, the progress of the armed forces, and efforts to give him insight into his adjustment problems were stressed.


Noncommissioned officers were trained and assigned as counselors, working under the supervision and direction of the psychiatrist. 


“----Teacher selection, Training, And Supervision in STUs-------------------

Instructors for the STUs were selected from those men in uniform who had either prior experience as teachers or an aptitude for teaching.  Only those men were sought as instructors who had a sympathetic appreciation of the needs of illiterates, non-English-speaking and Grade V men and could provide the type of encouragement and motivation which were necessary to make the program successful.  In March 1944, a drive was made to recruit civilian teachers for the academic phase of the program in order to replace physically fit instructors who could be prepared for overseas shipment.  Despite the teacher shortage during the war, may units were successful in obtaining needed civilian instructors who were qualified to do the job.  Each of the STUs was required to conduct a troop school for the indoctrination and i-service training of instructors.  Training was provided for all instructors to prepare them to conduct the military and/or academic training prescribed by the program and to insure that a high level of instruction was maintained.  Three national training conferences were conducted for selected instructors and supervisors of STUs”187-188.


“------Accomplishments of the Special Training Program-----------------

Of the 302,838 men who were received in STUs after June 1, 1943, there were 254,272 men who successfully completed the program and were assigned for regular training, 44,499 men who were discharged from the Army, and 4,067 men who were transferred to a non-duty status.  The number of men assigned represented 84 percent of those who entered the STUs which were operated at the reception-center level.  Of those men who successfully completed the program, 79 percent required sixty days of less to achieve the standards.

            There were 135,470 white men who successfully completed the program.  They represented 83 percent of the total number of white entrants into special training.  There were 119,296 Negroes who were graduated from the units, representing 85 percent of the Negro entrants.  Analysis of the data on the rate of accomplishment reveals that 81 percent of the successful whites required less than sixty days to graduate and the comparable percentage for the Negroes was 76.” 188 



Until June 1, 1943, the illiterate was kept out of the Navy.  On that date, however, the literacy standards for induction into the Navy became the same as those of the Army, and illiteracy alone was no longer considered valid grounds for rejection.  Early in 1944 a special training program for illiterates was established at the Naval Training Station, Great Lakes, Illinois.  The next month this instruction, for all but Negro illiterates, was transferred to Camp Peary, Williamsburg, Virginia.  Before the Summer of 1944 they wouldn’t retroactively train illiterates that had already been active.  After this time they would. 


They used a reader entitled “Navy Life” and also utilized the already existing appeal of the comic book.  Of the 7,000 at Peary 95% came from twenty-four states, chiefly rural and southern, A third had attended one- or two-room schools.   About half of the schools attended by these illiterates had stove heat and outside toilets.


The Navy established again the fact that illiteracy is not necessarily a function of low intelligence.  By comparing the performance of 3,200 illiterates with those of general service recruits on the Navy Non-Verbal Test, the conclusion was reached that there was “but slight difference between regular services and special recruits in regard to intelligence.”



All branches of the armed services established programs of guidance and counseling connected with the procedures of induction, selection, assignment, and separation. 


Early on in the Army and Navy off-duty education programs, individual education officers became aware of the need for counseling and guidance among the personnel.


Some servicemen and women wanted advice in the selection of USAFI courses and in the planning of an educational program for their leisure-time study.  Others wanted to know more about opportunities for postwar education and vocational training.  Others on how to pick up the scattered threads of the civilian lives they had left behind.  A few felt the need to discuss personal problems.  Hospital patients needed it for vocational rehab.



------------Activities of the I and E Division--------------------------

They were concerned with supplying educational and occupational info to service men.  Film strips and films such as “So You’re Goind to be Discharged, You Can Take It With You, and Your Counselor and Your G.I. Bill of Rights”  They also made manuals showing how military skills applied to civilian life.  It sponsored the Vocational Information Kit already referred to and prepared a guidance textbook for the GI, “Your Postwar Career.”

The kit was designed to be well organized but inaccessible without help.  The kits suggested courses of off-duty study.  They were also used to spur discussion groups around the problems of civilian life and re-enlistment, family problems, personal finances, tax arrears, marital relationships etc.  A

“Your Postwar Career” was an 150 page textbook designed to get the GI to watch his interests, abilities, and training in his choice of educational or vocational opportunities after the war. 


The AEP had conferences to orient them to university atmosphere and to aid them in the wise choice of programs.  They were followed by group activities such as “How to Study” classes.  Lists of American Colleges and Universities prepard by the Council on Education at the request of the Army Education Branch and college catalogues were supplemental. 


The Adjunct General’s office was responsible for selecting, procuring and distributing these materials.  Much was aimed at high school seniors and so had to be revised.




This chapter concerns efforts to let military personnel know of he availability of the educational services provided.  This was a continuing process.  High turnover meant that there were nearly always new people to tell.  Long termers needed to be reminded of the value of education too.

    Not much new to say, except that the ingenuity of promoters working under war conditions was amazing.  Usual media were used.  The use of humor, sex appeal and cartoons added to the intrinsic interest of these media.  Always there as an effort to unbend, to meet the soldier at his own level.  Catalogs were distributed a lot. 


Surveys found personal interest and relation to Navy job garnered 25 and 26 percent of motivation to participate in off-duty programs respectively.  Only 16% took classes because they wanted to get work after the war was over  And, 10% did it for school credit.  For the USAFI 28% took classes due to post war work applicability.  25% for school credit and 18 percent did it out of pure interest. 


Publicity had an attention getter and then emphasized personal gain from study.


Evaluation was done by the Research Branch of the I and E Division. 

“If any program of information and education is to be effective, it must be based on the interests and needs of troops; it must recognize soldier attitudes and assist the soldier in resolving his anxieties and doubts.  These matters cannot be left to guesswork.  Research techniques, developed by social scientists for use in industry and by students of public opinion, are used extensively throughout the Army for this purpose….  The findings of these research teams are frequently used in formulation of War Department and theater policy.”  It was also used for follow-up evaluations of the policy.   “The complexity of research procedures, furthermore, makes it necessary to centralize research activities at the highest echelon.  But the large picture interests, the information-education officer must realize, may not fit the needs of a particular unit.  So he must trust the judgment of the information-education officer in the field.  The results of research were distributed to all in a War Department monthly called “What the Soldier Thinks”. 

Many implications of the next chapter come out of that monthly. 

Studies were done according to the following plan:

1.      Questionnaires were made to get the exact info required.

2.      Questionnaires were pretested on a small group.

3.      The research project was cleared with appropriate agencies.

4.      The number to be surveyed was determined.

5.      The men surveyed were selected to insure a true cross-section.

6.      The men completed the questionnaires under conditions of absolute anonymity.

7.      the data were analyzed. 

NAVY research:  As to be expected, by 60 to 51%, men who had graduated high school were more likely to have taken a class.  And the evaluation of the course depended largely on their evaluation of the instructor. 


USAFI Research:

Only 2% said it was a waste of time.  47% said it was very valuable.  For them, an even number of high school and non high school graduates participated  50% did more than 3 hours a week of off-duty study.  But only 5% planned to go to school after the war.

Also, these men were noted to have really followed the news closely.  87% said it was absolutely necessary to have a clearer understanding of why we were fighting.  The desire to hear more about why we are fighting grew after hearing a lecture. 59% of men never heard discussions about why we were fighting though 60% wanted them.  84% thought the Navy did a “very good” job of informing them about up to date on the news of the day.  Better educated men were more critical. 


Counseling demand was greatest among those who were under 21 years of age, left full time school to enter the Navy and planned to return to full time school.  48% of those planning on returning to school sought advice. 




1. Interest in education on the part of adults is very widespread. The success of many of the Army and Navy efforts serves as a powerful argument that, when programs are geared to real adult needs and interests and carried out effectively, mature people will respond.
2. A large "number of service people have been introduced to education as part of their adult experience and will be motivated to continue learning if opportunities are present for them to do so. This conclusion seems clear for two major reasons. First, adults who have become accustomed to the idea of learning will not consider it strange to go on doing so. Second, many have discovered new interests which will lead them on to further learning."
3. Adult educational activities should be introduced into the primary associations and institutions to which people belong. The Army and the Navy were basic social organizations influencing and commanding loyalty of their personnel. Because those organizations themselves conducted programs of adult education, it seemed more natural and right for their personnel to participate in them. ...In civilian life, this same principle obtains, to the extent that there is a community of interest in an ongoing organization.
4. The more education mature people have, the more likely they are to want more. Again and again, both the Army and the Navy found that there was a positive correlation between formal education and participation in their programs. ...This fact has several meanings for civilian adult educators. As more and more of the population is made up of people who have had formal schooling, there will be greater and greater demand for adult education. The most immediate market for adult educational activities is among those who have had formal schooling. And finally, as those who have not had formal schooling are introduced into adult educational activities, the motivation to continue to learn will be increased.
5. Adult educational programs are especially successful where opportunities for recreation are limited. Numerous observers have reported that interest in Army educational programs varied inversely to proximity to organized forms of amusement. On the surface this implies that civilian adult educational agencies will be more successful when they have less competition with organized amusement. More basically it means that people, in their leisure time, will want to do things that they enjoy or from which they get some creative satisfaction.
6. Participation in adult education activities will be increased if they are located geographically close to the students. Army and Navy libraries, for example, found that their circulation was increased if they used a number of branches scattered through a camp or base rather than if they had one single central deposit of books. It might seem that this principle is too obvious to mention were it not for the fact that many adult educational agencies now place primary emphasis on concentrating their program in a few centers of a single location.
7. Adult educational activities may provide for marked increases in racial, religious, and social tolerance. Two different kinds of evidence support this conclusion. Some programs-notably the Army I and E activities-attempted to teach tolerance directly; those responsible for such efforts concluded that they had had some measure of success. More broadly, representatives of all different racial and religious groups participated together without serious difficulty in educational programs. They, therefore, had direct experience in working together toward common objectives.


8. Programs of adult education must be directed toward the achievement of goals which the students feel to be real and significant. With monotonous regularity, programs succeeded when they were based on needs and interests and failed when they were not.
9. The success of an adult educational program is enhanced if it starts at the level of the student and then proceeds to more abstract or broader things. This, too, is a commonly understood principle which has been borne out by Army and Navy experience. Men who were at first interested in relatively trivial books or classes could be led to have a much broader pattern of interests and understandings.
10. In any large group of mature people, the demand for adult education will be highly diversified and may change greatly from year to year. Those responsible for the Army and Navy programs quickly found that they were dealing with men and women who came from a broad range of backgrounds and therefore had a variety of needs and interests. Programs which were restricted to a few activities never drew as many people as did those which offered a varied bill of fare.
11. The motivations for learning grow in part out of the social climate in which the students live. Army and Navy programs built on interest inventories which explored the desires of individual men and women were frequently not as successful as those which studied the patterns of values created by immediate social groups. A group of "buddies" wanted to take courses together; the choice of the group depended on its pattern of values, frequently being most influenced by the opinions of the natural leader of the group.
12. The attitudes of adults may be changed at least to some extent by the provision of factual information. The orientation programs supported this contention fairly clearly.
13. Almost all people without the basic tools of learning can achieve them if courses are well taught. The Army literacy program succeeded in giving almost all of its students at least fifth-grade competence after several weeks of full-time training.
14. Adults may be more interested in studying broad cultural subjects than has heretofore been thought likely by educators. On a number of Army and Navy bases and in the Army universities overseas, the demand for art, music, dramatics, philosophy, and other kindred subjects far outran expectations. Clearly such courses must be directed toward adult interests but if this condition is met a very broad area of development appears possible.


15. Adult education cannot be successful unless those in charge of the total organization within which it works are impressed with its role. Always, throughout the Army and Navy experience, the quality of the off-duty program was in part a reflection of the interest and cooperation of the higher authorities in the chain of command. An educational officer could sometimes surmount many of the obstacles placed in his way by his commandant, but his program was always made more difficult by them.
16. The organization and administration of a program of adult education should be kept, as far as possible, under local control, and initiative and the development of aspects of the program, uniquely suited to local conditions, encouraged. It may appear surprising that this principle should grow out of the experience of the armed services which, in popular fancy at least, are the best examples of centralized control. One educator who had an excellent opportunity to see the Navy program in many circumstances, however, points out that "the Educational Services officers who depended on the Bureau [of Naval Personne1] became frustrated and beaten individuals; those who lived off the land and developed their own programs on the basis of their own talents and local support they could obtain were, on the other hand, extremely successful in achieving the objectives of the program."
17. An adult educational program will succeed only when there is inspired and driving leadership. It would appear that, in both military and civilian practice, adult education cannot succeed without administrators who are in part leaders and in part promoters in the best sense of that term.
18. Supervisors should be given frequent opportunities to test the practicalities of their recommendations. The Army continually stressed the importance of going to the field-particularly overseas-as the best way to help Pentagon supervisors build programs of real and practical assistance. Civilian programs might well follow the Army's example.
19. Courses offerings in adult education should be organized in integrated blocks of work, each requiring a limited period of time for completion. A large number of Army and Navy officers felt this principle to be of importance. It was particularly appropriate in a situation in which men were often transferred, but it appeared to be true as well in other locations. Most men in the services-like most civilian adults- are not as yet used to extensive learning programs and would rather pursue several short courses, each complete in itself, than one long one.


20. Adults will learn to do a task better if careful explanations are given as to both the immediate steps to be taken and the larger goal. This principle is borne out by extensive (Army and Navy) experience and by research investigation. This principle has applications for virtually every organized and sequential learning activity designed for mature people.
21. The learning of skills is enhanced by a presentation of the basic theory involved. In a study of inductees at a
reception center, men were placed in two paired groups. One group was asked to participate in a class which presented basic theory and the other was not. The men who participated showed an 18 percent gain in mastery over those who did not participate. 22. The use of a variety of methods is better than reliance on a single method. This principle was followed again and again in the Army and Navy off-duty programs, particularly in attempts at orientation. It rather effectively negates the yearnings of some extremists to establish some one method-usually discussion, apprenticeship, or the presentation of audio-visual aids-as the chief or indeed the only valid method of adult education.
23. At every stage of the instructional process the student should see clearly how his learning is related to the other aspects of his mature life. The functional approach is designed to relate closely to life experiences and needs; by its very nature it promotes and sustains interest. Through this approach the program offers the student immediate use and application for his skills. ...Thus, he comes to realize that education pays profits. Reinforces by this knowledge, he often turns to his studies with renewed interest and effort.
24. Learning will be improved if the student is constantly made to feel responsible for his own education. ...Mature people simply do not understand learning experiences unless they feel they need them. The Army and Navy found that this initial motivation must be maintained or the learning program failed.
25. Informality of approach is helpful in the teaching of adults. Adults expect this kind of freedom and they will respond to it as well in civilian as in military life.
26. In using the discussion method on a sequential basis, greater response will be found if the meetings are regularly scheduled without too much intervening time, if the leaders have some authority and are especially trained, and if the topics are of current or personal importance. This rather specific set of dicta grew out of a study of the Army orientation program in which it was clearly demonstrated that men favored a once-weekly meeting, leadership by the company commander or officers specially trained, and topics pertinent to their immediate situation.
27. The use of the discussion method in educational activities has implications for the more effective performance of the basic work of an agency. It was found in both the Army and Navy that the educational program gave an opportunity for natural leaders to manifest themselves, for men to relieve personally felt tensions, and for problems which need special handling to come to light.
28. Correspondence instruction is a useful device for educating adults. The Army and Navy programs gave great impetus to this kind of instruction and indicated its potentialities to many people.


29. The armed services have developed a large number of materials which may be used directly or with little change by civilian programs. Many instructional materials were developed to meet such specially service-related needs that have no peacetime application. A vast range of others, however, would be exceptionally useful if they could be made available. Such use requires some method of channeling the resources.
30. Much of the instructional material used for adult education must be especially developed with that use in mind. The Army and Navy found again and again that textbooks and other materials built for high school students were not appropriate for use with adults. Teaching was markedly improved if special materials adapted to the particular purpose of a program were developed centrally by experts, tested out in sample situations, revised, and then made generally available.
31. Instructional materials for adults should be oriented toward the life situations in which mature people usually find themselves. The Army literacy program, for example, loaded its content heavily with content that stressed the military tasks ahead. The individual is made to realize that he cannot be successful in the Army if he is unable to read, write, and perform simple calculations. Motivation thus is intimately associated with the soldier's life pattern as are the instructional methods used.
32. Those who took part in military programs will have an increased respect for print as a vehicle of communication, instruction, and recreation. Books of all types were used by men who had not used books before. Advancements in rating and increase in pay came chiefly through reading and passing examinations-through some other less respectable methods were occasionally used. Survival itself depended in part on learning information contained in books.
33. Instructional materials can be made more widely usable through the inclusion of self-teaching devices. The idea of self-study is an attractive one to Americans, as the success of various "self-teaching" books on bridge, foreign languages, social dancing, and muscle-building clearly shows. The editorial staff of USAFI continually worked to change regular textual materials into self-teaching materials.
34. Phonograph records, coupled with instructional manuals, provide an effective method of teaching foreign languages, music, shorthand, and radio code. The materials used by USAFI proved this rather specific contention beyond any question.
35. The range of knowledge about and experience in the use of audio-visual aids was greatly extended. The Army and Navy used audio-visual aids very extensively and, as a consequence, learned something about them. ...It gradually began to be realized by all but extremists in the field that audio-visual aids are valuable only when they can be fitted easily and well into a program and are directly related to the objective sought.
36. The use of a variety of kinds of materials is more effective than the use of a single kind. It was shown on many occasions in the Army and Navy that visual devices were more effective when coupled with other methods of presentation.


37. A large number of persons were for the first time concerned with the teaching and administration of adults educational activities. The successful conduct of the off-duty programs required a large number of persons to serve as leaders. Since such persons do not exist in large numbers in civilian life, it was necessary for the Army and Navy to impress into this kind of service a wide variety of people-school teachers and administrative officers, college teachers, librarians, and many others whose connection with formal education had been even more tenuous. Such persons had to learn about adult education the hard way, but many did learn. They returned to civilian life with some competence in adult education. ...Also significant will be the interest of many persons who are not connected with formal education in civilian life but whose experience as leaders in the off-duty programs will lead them to give support and encouragement as citizens and possible leaders to peacetime programs.
38. Students in the armed services programs considered the quality of the instructor to be one of the most effective factors in the success of such programs. While this principle can hardly be considered new, it is interesting and significant to realize that civilian experience was borne out in the military programs.
39. Many persons who have marked competence in subject matter skills or understandings may be used as instructors for adult educational activities. Both the Army and Navy were able to organize classes nearly anywhere and in nearly any subject-matter area.
40. The ability of teachers of adults may be markedly improved by training in methods of instructing mature persons. The Army particularly stressed method and attempted to give some training in this regard to the people who took part in its program.


41. The need for counseling and guidance among adults is very great. It is frequently thought that mature people have achieved a stage in life in which they are able to solve their own problems satisfactorily. The experience of the Army and Navy would uniformly tend to disapprove this conclusion. The need for counseling was emphasized perhaps more than any other point by persons who were consulted by the authors of this study. They (service personnel) require assistance in analyzing their educational needs and selecting those learning experiences which will help them to meet them.
42. A truly effective adult educational program cannot be established or maintained without guidance procedures. Both the Army and the Navy found that, where guidance was not available, men and women failed to engage in those activities which would be most helpful to them; consequently the retention rate was often extremely low.
43. A sound program of guidance rests in part on effective testing and evaluative procedures. The enormous size of the armed services required classification systems of great magnitude. These systems were based in part on comprehensive testing programs. It was found by both the Army and Navy educational officers that guidance was greatly facilitated by the information thus provided. In addition, specialized testing procedures were used in many programs.


44. The more people know of the availability of adult educational programs, the more they will participate. Studies in both the Army and the Navy showed that men who knew of the availability of the educational program and had a good bit of specific information about it were more apt to participate. Both services, therefore, used extensive publicity, based on modern advertising methods, to recruit students.
45. Basically recruitment of students rests on the excellence of the program. Despite the necessity for the use of promotional techniques as pump primers, there is a great deal of evidence to show that the most effective asset for recruitment in both the Army and Navy was a good program, and that educational officers who concentrated on sound objectives and techniques had no difficulty in securing students.


46. Research in evaluation will improve the effectiveness of an adult educational program. The research findings supported sound educational principles which would otherwise have lacked concreteness and concerning which it might have been particularly difficult to convince old-line Army and Navy officers. Individual student progress was also evaluated extensively; as a result students were given ideas concerning their accomplishment and the respects in which they needed further improvement.
47. Attitude surveys are a helpful means of attuning an educational program to the needs of adults, particularly since such surveys are welcomed by participants. The value of such studies has been amply demonstrated in the preceding pages (of this work).


48. If a program can be objectively demonstrated to be useful and practical, objections to expenditures for it are less intense. This technique was used again and again with telling effect by those responsible for both Navy and Army off-duty programs.
49. Evidences of student interest in an adult educational program make it more possible to secure funds. Despite the fabled rigidity of control from the top down in the Army and Navy, officers tended to be impressed if the men in their command showed a wholehearted enthusiasm for the educational program. Such enthusiasm was used as an effective argument for more funds. Frequently adult educational agencies, particularly those provided at public expense, are timid about extending their program, pleading that they do not have adequate resources to extend a new service to all the people who might use it. The military experience would indicate that, if people like a service, their enthusiasm may be used to secure greater financial support, particularly when those served are themselves taxpayers.


50. Facilities used for adult education should be informal, flexible, and attractive. This principle is true for all education but it is particularly required for adults who voluntarily attend educational activities and who expect to find the facilities available attractive and useful. Both Army and Navy found that this principle held true.
51. Physical facilities must be designed in terms of the physical size of adults. It would seem almost impossible for a principle to be more self-evident than this one. Yet both military services and civilian agencies were often satisfied to undertake programs in facilities which were ludicrous for mature men and women. As a result, programs were seriously hampered and the drop-out rate was high.


In the last war (World War II), the Army and Navy did not and could not regard off-duty education as their first and most important function. When a nation is at war, destruction of enemy power becomes the encompassing end. But the educational programs, even though incidental to the main issue and therefore always subject to neglect, were so vast that they influenced millions of men (and women). The armed services blazed a tortuous trail toward a great truth, the truth that everybody has a natural desire to learn and can profit from that learning. If civilian society is willing to accept this basic truth and begins to realize its fullest promise, a great good can be said to have come out of the war. Through the very struggle for democracy, a new implement for democracy will have been forged.

Figure 1. 51 Implications for Armed Services Adult Education