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DAO Consulting leading a wargaming workshop

Workshops & Engagements for Development

  • Decision-making, Communication, and Effective Action

  • Critical Thinking

  • Adult Learning Theory

  • Facilitating for Higher-Order Learning

  • Curriculum Design & Development

  • Evaluation and Rubric Development

Our workshops and engagements are custom-tailored to the needs of our clients. We spend considerable time learning about your challenges and opportunities, collect as much data as needed, and work with you to develop an offering that suits your needs. Our offerings consist of highly engaging and immersive exercises and heavily use decision games and other learner-centered techniques. We ask you—the participants—to drive the experiences. We design our offerings to encourage far transfer of learning so you can apply what you've learned quickly and effectively on the job.

We offer workshops and engagements from one day to two weeks (ten business days).


To support our offerings, DAO Consulting leverages a vast network of highly experienced leaders, facilitators, curriculum designers, and adult learning experts. These teammates bring extraordinary talents and wide-ranging knowledge to greatly enhance your learning experiences.


Decision Making, Communication, and Effective Action

  • Decision-Forcing Case Workshop (DFCs): Excellent tools for sharpening decision-making, communication, and critical thinking skills, DFCs put participants in the shoes of historical figures faced with complex problems and ask them to try to solve those same problems with the information available at the time. First made famous in the U.S. by Harvard Business School, DFCs are found in industries and schools worldwide. In this workshop, we'll use DFCs to sharpen your decision-making, improve your communication skills, and increase your capacity to take effective actions.

  • Decision-Forcing Staff Ride Workshop: A sibling of the military DFC, decision-forcing staff rides take place on the actual grounds of the events of a case, typically a battle or military engagement. In addition to the benefits of a regular DFC, staff rides facilitated in this way help participants learn about the roles that time, terrain, and space play in a leader’s decision-making and problem-solving process. In this workshop, we'll use decision-forcing staff rides to sharpen your decision-making, improve your communication skills, and increase your capacity for taking effective actions.

  • Tactical Decision Games Workshop (TDGs): TDGs are short, typically 1-2 page fictional decision-making exercises. They’ve been used in the U.S. Marine Corps and Army for decades to help teach decision-making, tactics, critical thinking, communication, and other skills. Many US law enforcement, fire departments, and emergency service organizations also use them. This workshop will help you sharpen your decision-making, improve your communication skills, and increase your capacity for taking effective actions.

  • Ethical Decision Game Workshop (EDGs): EDGs consist of short, ethically-focused scenarios surrounding a dilemma. EDGs are designed to draw out, examine, and challenge participants’ thinking on some ethical question or topic. In this workshop, we'll use EDGs to sharpen your decision-making, improve your communication skills, and increase your capacity for taking effective actions, particularly within ethical contexts.

  • Educational Wargames Workshop: Wargames are a kind of simulation where two or more players attempt to best each other in a contest of wills. Players must make decisions involving tradeoffs and see the consequences of their decisions play out. Wargames, which are seeing a major revival across the U.S. Department of Defense, offer many benefits, from improving decision-making, communication, and tactical thinking to team-building, plan-testing, and much more. Not to mention, they're great fun!

  • Mixed Decision Game Workshop: Want your organization to experience the full range of decision games? We can do that in a "mixed" decision game workshop!

Critical Thinking

  • Introduction to Critical Thinking Workshop: Critical thinking is a term that gets thrown around a lot. But it's far more than a buzzword. It's a set of tools and habits of mind that can dramatically improve the quality of your life and your daily decisions. In this workshop, we'll introduce participants to the basics of critical thinking and work through various exercises designed to help you integrate critical thinking into your personal and professional lives.

  • Advanced Critical Thinking Workshop: For those already versed in the fundamentals of critical thinking, this workshop will ask participants to go deeper into the subject and learn about and apply tools and concepts like double and triple-loop learning, advanced perspective taking, cognitive biases, and logical fallacies.  

Adult Learning Theory and Science

  • Introduction to Adult Learning Theory and Science Workshop: In this workshop, we'll introduce you to some of the major thinkers, theories, history, and science behind how adults learn. Through interactive, group-based, learner-focused exercises, we'll help your organization better understand what goes on between your ears when you're learning and how best to maximize learning in individual and group settings.

Facilitating for Higher-Order Learning

  • Basic Higher-Order Learning Facilitation Techniques Workshop: Want to develop your team members' higher-order thinking skills, like problem-solving or creative thinking? Lecturing and Death by PowerPoint won't get you there. Fortunately, many learner-centered, learner-driven techniques exist to develop higher-order thinking skills, which we'll explore, experience, and practice in this workshop.

  • Advanced Higher-Order Learning Facilitation Techniques Workshop: For those already experienced in higher-order learning facilitation techniques, this workshop will introduce you to additional techniques, give you opportunities to combine and experiment with techniques, and ask you to come up with your own!

Evaluation and Rubric Development

  • Evaluation for Learning and Rubric Development Workshop: How do we know if the attendees of a class or course learned what they were seemingly taught? Put another way, how do we know that they know? Realistic and challenging evaluations are one key to determining how much someone has learned, and rubrics are a useful tool to help measure learning in evaluations. In this workshop, we'll explore and experience various proven evaluation methods and work together to design and develop rubrics to help measure learning in your organization.

Curriculum Design and Development

  • Class and Course Design and Development Workshop: Does your organization need assistance designing and developing a class or course? We can help with that! The team at DAO Consulting has designed and developed successful curricula for the U.S. Marine Corps, Ernst and Young, and other high-profile clients. We take a learner-centered, science-backed approach to curriculum design and development, one that aims to achieve far transfer of learning and uses multi-level evaluations to determine the degree of learning transfer achieved.​​



We have consulted with many organizations, including the Marine Corps’ Training and Education Command, The Basic School, the Marine Corps Tactics and Operations Group, the School of Infantry-East, and the Latvian Training and Doctrine Command, to name a few. Our consulting approach reflects our unique experiences as educators, leaders, and problem-solvers. We help clients think strategically; better understand their organizations and people; and apply critical and creative thinking to a wide range of problems, challenges, and opportunities.

Research & Writing

Damien has conducted extensive historical research at The National Archives (United Kingdom), the National Library of Scotland, the US National Archives, the US National Archives II (College Park, MD), the US Library of Congress, the US Marine Corps Archives and History Division, the US Army Center of Military History, the US Army Military History Institute, and the Tucson Branch of the Arizona Historical Society. He has also spent a great deal of time working with and preserving the personal papers of several members of the US Military Reform Movement. His past clients include the US Marine Corps’ Basic School and Expeditionary Warfare School, the US Army's Military History Institute, and private individuals. He keeps a large network of world-renowned researchers, academics, theorists, and practitioners whom he can leverage in support of research projects, particularly those concerning national defense, military history, learning, teaching, critical thinking, and curriculum design and development.

With respect to writing, he has published with Proceedings, War Room, Marine Corps Gazette, The Landing, The Maneuverist, the Journal on Baltic Security, and the blog of the Center for Revolutionary Scientific Thought. To view some of his published work, please click here

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