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Old March 9, 2017, 10:59 PM   #1
Aguila Blanca
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NRA "Blended Learning"?

Are there any NRA instructors here who are certified to teach Basic Pistol?

Instructors in my area are hopping mad about the new "blended learning" on-line training course. Nobody likes it. But, here's the question:

I have had multiple instructors tell me they have received an e-mail from the NRA informing them that the NRA is pulling the plug on the on-line program, and that it will be phased out this year. I haven't received anything of that nature, and there's no mention of such a decision on the NRA's trainer portal web site. When I ask these guys to please forward a copy of the e-mail to me, all I get is promises.

Does anyone know if there's any truth to rumors that the on-line course has been a failure and that the NRA is pulling the plug on it?
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Old March 10, 2017, 02:01 AM   #2
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca
....Does anyone know if there's any truth to rumors that the on-line course has been a failure and that the NRA is pulling the plug on it?
One of the members in our instructor group forwarded a link to this article. It's not an official NRA communication, but the author cites as a source the National Manager of NRA’s Training Department, one John Howard.

I think the article is credible and hope that's not just my confirmation bias talking.
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Old March 10, 2017, 08:14 AM   #3
Don P
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I have not heard of it and have not received anything from the NRA
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Old March 10, 2017, 09:09 PM   #4
lockedcj7
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I am certified in basic pistol. I was one of the first cohorts that took the online training as part of the instructor's course. I have not heard anything about them pulling the plug.

During my training, the counselor indicated that one reason established instructors are mad has to do with the program itself. At completion, it directs the student to contact an instructor by visiting the NRA website and finding one in their area. In so doing, it might direct a hard-won student to a different instructor instead of back to the original one.

I am a High School teacher IRL and I have seen lots of computer based education programs. This is by far the best designed of everything I have seen. In fact, I went back to my school and told them that I have "seen the future". NOTHING replaces hands-on experience with a good instructor but this isn't bad.
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Old March 10, 2017, 11:42 PM   #5
john in jax
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I am NRA certified Pistol and despise the new program! Absolutely hate it! Have not taught a First Steps or Basic since the switch.

Been an NRA member for decades I let my membership expire. Got a while left on my NRA instructor certificate, but do not plan on renewing that either. Why am I so bitter/angry about this:
#1 I used to teach mostly the First Steps program - which they eliminated.

#2. I used to pay +/-$16 per packet of materials to the NRA and then be able charge the customer enough $$ to put enough money in my pocket to make it worthwhile.

#3. The NRA charges the student $60! NONE of my potential students want to do blended learning much less pay more for it so the NRA is basically taking +/-$45 out of my pocket for each and every student. It just isn't worth my time anymore.

Don't get me wrong I am sure a lot of people can successfully complete the blended program, but none of of my potential students want to. By all means let people that want to do blended learning do so, but don't force customer who don't want to or won't be successfull at blended learning into a path in which they will be unsuccessful! The instructors are still doing a lot of work and providing individualized attention to each and every student, it is just that now you can't make enough money to make it worthwhile.

Do not buy the NRA fertilizer about this being a new and better way of instructing students it is all about them seizing more control and stuffing their pockets with the dollars the instructors used to make. It is all about greed and control, and they can kiss all my donations, all my stumping for the NRA and trying to pitch/sell memberships goodbye.
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Last edited by john in jax; March 10, 2017 at 11:56 PM.
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Old March 11, 2017, 09:48 AM   #6
dawg23
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Quote:
Originally posted by Frank Ettin: One of the members in our instructor group forwarded a link to this article. It's not an official NRA communication, but the author cites as a source the National Manager of NRA’s Training Department, one John Howard.

I think the article is credible and hope that's not just my confirmation bias talking.
I an certified as a Basic Pistol Instructor and as a Personal Protection Instructor.

I spoke to a different person at the NRA Training Department ("Mark") last month and was told the same thing that "The Gun Writer" reported.

This was clearly one of those "solutions looking for a problem." Not sure how the NRA could (a) misread the preferences of its instructors, or (b) simply not care about the preferences of its instructors.

Glad it's fixed.
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Old March 11, 2017, 12:00 PM   #7
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockedcj7
....I have seen lots of computer based education programs. This is by far the best designed of everything I have seen....
I'll agree that the "production values" of the NRA on-line program are first rate and that the form and format are well thought out and executed. But the group I teach with had some concerns about the content.

In addition, we've been teaching the NRA Basic Handgun course for a lot of years (I've been with the group for about nine years). We limit class size and always have a lot of instructors on hand at our classes. Most of our instructors, as well as being NRA certified, have considerable training such as multiple classes at schools like Gunsite and Front Sight, and classes with Massad Ayoob. Several of our instructors are POST certified.

So we'll usually have a 1:1 or 2:1 student/instructor ratio and do a lot of hands-on exercises one-on-one. The NRA on-line program really adds nothing to what we do and is generally simply repetitive.

Since it was implemented we've continued to teach our class but have not issued NRA certificates. It looks like we'll now be able to go back to issuing NRA certificates.
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Old March 11, 2017, 12:52 PM   #8
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John in Jax how much do you have to put in your pocket to make teaching new shooters worth your while?
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Old March 11, 2017, 02:35 PM   #9
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K_Mac
John in Jax how much do you have to put in your pocket to make teaching new shooters worth your while?
I don't want to see this degenerate into to bickering about whether NRA instructor should profit or how much NRA instructors should make teaching new shooters. So I will do whatever I need to to prevent that from happening.

Some instructors do use teaching these sorts of classes as a way to supplement their family income. "The workman is worthy of his wages." And however worthy to activity is, there are costs involved.

A prudent instructor maintains insurance to protect himself and his family's assets. He may have to pay range fees, supply ammunition, either buy or make training aids, advertise, or do other things that cost money -- even if he isn't making a much of a profit. And he should not be expected to lose money.

Our group serves 80 to 100 students a year and charges $150.00 for our class. That covers only our costs and operating expenses -- none of the instructors receive any compensation.
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Old March 11, 2017, 05:40 PM   #10
ShootistPRS
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The instructors that I have met through the programs at the local range charge an hourly rate for the classroom and the range instruction. It is expensive but then so was their certification. Attending the extended pistol classes costs $150 per day with two days minimum time. On top of that you have to supply 400 rounds of ammo per day. I know this is above the basic classes but it would seem that the instructors time, experience and literature is worth the same.

I am a certified industrial safety trainer and I charge a minimum of $250 for a class and it is $95 each for 4 hours of class followed by a checkout on the equipment they will be using. I charge extra for my travel time. No one is guaranteed a passing grade as it takes an 80% on the written test and a 90% on the operational test to pass. Individual instruction on equipment is $69 per hour with a two hour minimum. It generally takes 4 to 6 hours to bring an experienced student up to a passing level.

I have no problem with a competent instructor charging whatever they need to make it work for themselves and their students. I heard from the NRA that the on-line course was put together to make the class more uniform in its content. The NRA can control this with an on-line course better than relying on certified instructors to cover the course in the same way. I have a problem with this in that if the instructors are using the NRA paperwork it is all covered as it should be. If the instructors are not using the NRA paperwork then the NRA is not liable and they have no say in the matter. Either way it should be up to the individual trainer as long as the basics are all covered.
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Old March 11, 2017, 08:10 PM   #11
Aguila Blanca
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Frank, thank you for that link. That's the closest I have seen to confirmation of the rumor. That said, we're less than a month away from the purported April 4 launch date of the new, instructor-friendlier incarnation and it seems most instructors still haven't heard anything official, and there's still nothing on the NRA's instructor portal web site.

VERY frustrating.
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Old March 12, 2017, 12:34 AM   #12
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca
Frank, thank you for that link. That's the closest I have seen to confirmation of the rumor....
Additional information:

Yesterday I received the following email from one of our local NRA Training Counselors:
Quote:
Dear NRA Instructor,

The NRA indicates that they have been working with Pistol Instructors to develop courses that will give the Instructors the "ability to choose a delivery method that best suits their needs". In the next couple of weeks you will see changes to the Pistol program.

The following was sent to me by the NRA.
"There will be significant improvements to the existing Blended Learning version as well as the introduction of a NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting, Instructor Led Training (ILT) version, both of which will be conducted entirely under the direct supervision of an Instructor. These changes will give NRA Certified Pistol Instructors the ability to administer both types of training in its entirety, and the freedom to choose the method based on the needs of the student.

"The NRA will be sending an email with a full list of the changes to all NRA Instructors on March 22, 2017, with an official release date of April 4, 2017. On April 4, 2017, there will be an acknowledgement on the NRAInstructors.org sign-in page that pops up after logging into your account. This will be the notification that the enhancements are active, and you may begin to teach either course at your discretion.

"Final implementation of the online registration process is in progress and will be tested and completed prior to the public announcement on April 4. A New Instructor Led Pistol Lesson Plan, as well as an updated Blended Lesson Plan and additional information will be available for download as PDF files on www.nrainstructors.org on April 4, 2017."
If I understand it correctly, you will be able to teach either the Instructor Led Course or the Blended Learning course with either a revolver or a semi-auto or both.

If you have not done so recently, log on to www.nrainstructors.org, and ensure that your e-mail information is correct so you receive information on the updates. I don't have much more information than what is above, but if you have any questions, please give me a call at xxx-xxx-xxxx or e-mail me back.

Xxxx Xxxxxx,
NRA Senior Training Counselor
I know this Training Counselor and consider him a credible source. I've taken instructor classes with him leading to several of my certifications. I've also provided the legal module on occasion for his Personal Protection classes.
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