First, I had planned on video recording the Trainers Update in Nashville; however, I was unable to get a seat upfront in order to do so. My friends, Les, Joy and I sat about 15 rows back with over 500 other Instructors and Training Counselors in the meeting, so holding up my iPad to record was not an option that I was willing to try.
John Howard, NRA Education & Training Department National Manager started the meeting off with an overview of where the Education & Training Department has been and we are are heading. FYI, there are 119,000 Certified Instructors and Training Counselors currently holding NRA credentials.
- Complete automation of credentialing for NRA Coaches.
- Combined Muzzleloading into one Book/Lesson plan.
- Pistol Marksmanship Simulator Training. http://trainingupdate.nra.org/#3750 (Recent Update: The PowerPoint is in the portal on the bottom right side, click on the slide for the PowerPoint presentation. There is a link below that for the Certificate)
- America’s Rifle Challenge Guidebook.
- NRA Certified Training Center – Trinidad State Jr. College in Trinidad, Colorado. This is a program where students can earn college credits for taking NRA Instructor Courses. It is the first of it’s kind so far.
Current Projects in Development:
- E-Learning – Basic Pistol, BIT – Basic Instructor Training, Instructor Refresher/ReCertification Training.
- Practical Coach – (Defensive and Hunting Skills, such as Defensive Shotgun, Rifle, Pistol)
- New Basic Rifle Shooting Course – NRA Guide to the Basics of Rifle Shooting Handbook and Lesson Plan
- America’s Rifle Challenge Video Series.
- “Blended Learning was designed for the student who has NEVER handled a gun.” – John Howard, NRA Education & Training National Manager.
- E-Learning will be implemented late 3rd Quarter early 4th Quarter of this year, 2015.
- There will be a transition period for Instructors and Training Counselors who have a supply of materials. At this point it is unknown how long that period will be; however, you won’t be stuck with printed materials that you cannot use.
- At this time there is no established cost by the NRA for the student E-Learning modules.
- Students are sending in surveys asking for MORE time with the Instructor in gun handling skills and shooting on the range. E-Learning is going to allow a lot more time for the Instructor to do just that.
- John Howard and the NRA Education & Training Department feel that the Instructor is still the most important part of the program. It will be the Instructor who will ultimately certify the student, and the Instructor WILL BE GIVEN information on how the student progressed through the E-Learning modules of the course.
- At the end John displayed the online E-Learning program, it was a brief sample; however, it was excellent. Too bad that not everyone stayed to get more information.
- John Howard emphasized that there are NO secrets. Call or Email if you have questions or concerns. (703) 267-1500 or firstname.lastname@example.org
There were many questions from the audience, and the overriding theme of them were all about their concealed carry courses and how E-Learning will effect the Instructor and their business. Not surprising that no one asked about the benefits for the student. We all know that many get NRA Instructor credentials to do concealed carry classes. John’s response to many of theses types of questions was stating that the states have contacted the NRA asking them for help in standardizing curriculum. One attendee stood up and said, (Paraphrasing) “If you have problems with teaching and meeting the requirements of the laws associated with your states concealed carry training, you need to take it up with your legislature and leave the NRA alone.” I agree with that 100%, and I’m doing something about it here in Florida.
I believe that E-Learning will be excellent as it is designed for the student who has never handled a gun before. I also believe it will be good to have standardized training. It will be up to the Instructor to give the student the best experience on the range and handling the gun. After all, we are the ones they are going to remember most. If we do our job well, we will have a student that will take many more courses from us and we will be the first person they think of when they are asked if they can recommend a Firearms Instructor for classes.
Obviously E-Learning is a polarizing subject; however, I sincerely believe that the people who are pushing back against it are a minority, and they have fear of the unknown worried about their business income, not focusing on the positives of the program with the student in mind. The majority of the Instructors against the program have not taken the time to look in depth into it, these same Instructors also think they have the skills to write their own lesson plans. Where I am located in Florida, there are many of these types of Instructors who have no credentials qualifying them in writing curriculum for a Firearms Safety Course let alone a Qualification Course of Fire or instruction on presenting a pistol from a concealment holster, let’s not go into the legal advice that some of these people give, see my previous blog post for my rant on that subject.
I mentioned it earlier, the NRA says that the majority of surveys that are returned from students are requesting MORE time with the Instructor. We should be HAPPY that the NRA is taking the burden of a majority of classroom time off of Instructors and giving us more time to do the gun handling and range portion.
Oh by the way, John Howard mentioned using a long gun for home defense might be coming, so it is plausible to expect some possible curriculum updates in Personal Protection In the Home. I believe he also mentioned that Defensive Rifle, Shotgun & Pistol will be implemented in the NRA Certified Coaches program.
America’s Rifle Challenge
Nathan Judd, Lead Program Specialist, America’s Rifle Challenge Program
“Let Freedom Ring” is their slogan and you can find the downloadable guidebook and a lot of information on the program at http://arc.nra.org/ The program is a Course of Fire with an AR style rifle. In the survey the NRA sent out to Certified Instructors and Training Counselors on February 24, 2015 asking four (4) questions about an AR-15 Instructor Course there were 12,000 responses in 48 hours with a 96% response in favor. So, I expect that a course may be designed by the NRA in the future.
NRA Practical Coaches Program
Daniel Subia, National Coach Trainer, Rifle/Pistol
Daniel presented the program as a supplement to being an NRA Certified Instructor. I see it as a lot of added value in coaching your students into becoming better shooters and diagnosing their misses properly.
- Practical Rifle Coach, Practical Pistol Coach, Practical Shotgun Coach.
- Defensive Rifle, Shotgun & Pistol.
- 3 Gun Coach.
- Long Range/Hi-Powered Rifle Coach.
- The NRA Practical Coaches Program will have training at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia and there are also several Level 1 Coaching courses listed online at www.nrainstructors.org/searchcourse.aspx
There are currently 7,000 NRA Certified Coaches and you can find out more by clicking on this link below. http://coaching.nra.org/
Next we had a short presentation from Rick Ector of Rick’s Firearm Academy of Detroit on how to grow your business. It was informative albeit too short due to time constraints.
Pro Tip: Make sure that you have your email address updated and current in the Instructor Portal at https://www.nrainstructors.org/InstructorAdmin/insLogin.aspx Many Instructors said they are not getting updates and the overlying reason why is because they do not have current contact information in the portal.
One last thought… “Blended Learning was designed for the student who has NEVER handled a gun.” – John Howard, NRA Education & Training National Manager.
Stay Safe and Train Hard!!!
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