- Adapted from many language skills learning programs, CAI's approach to learning is "Immersion."
- "Immersion", as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is "instruction based on extensive exposure to surroundings or conditions that are native or pertinent to the object of study." As can be attested those who have rapidly learned foreign languages, being immersed immediately in the usage of the language in everyday practical terms enables students to quickly grasp concepts prior to their memorization of complicated rules, vocabulary or tenses.
- So it is with the ability to be proficient with the skills of resource allocation processes of the Federal government. Learning the process in the context of everyday challenges utilizing data applicable to the principles being learned further ingrains the concepts into the students' mind. Now, immersion without form and function can result in a greater roadblock to learning as any other method. Therefore, CAI has developed the Touchstone Training & Education process. There are three simple premises that support the Touchstone system:
Knowledge - Familiarity with the every day information with which analysts will be working and tying them to their conceptual environemnt is synonymous to allowing a new swimmer to be comfortable with warm, shallow water.
The Tools - As students are familiarized with the data and concepts, the analytical tools available to them are introduced and are applied to the knowledge they have learned. They are now learning to explore the information. In the analogy of the swimmer, they are now treading water.
Skills - With new found tools and available information, certain skills can be taught to analysts that allows them to be more proficient with their tools. Steps and techniques will be taught to enhance their effectiveness in using these tools. Now the students will be ready to deeply "dive" into their jobs as well-trained "analysts."