Jump to content

Opinion about On-line specific training

Recommended Posts

I heard at round table last night that the on-line Cub scout specific training is out from our "Director of Field Services". Does anyone have the link.. It's not in myScouting, I thought I would find it there.


He was impressed with the content of the training, and felt this was the way to go, because people are just not getting trained otherwise. Later this year the on-line Boy scout specific training is suppose to roll out also.


Originally everytime this was discussed I was told, this was not on-line training that will replace course lead training. Now I am told that someone will be equally trained whether they go to on-line or to a course. The feeling is that some will just prefer to go to a course, so it is not taking away from the course, it is just training those who will not go to a course..


I see what he is saying. Maybe it's just me, I am heading into district training, and maybe like a real job, I am already being protective of seeing it whittle away into nothing.


If I am taking on the position of a DL, and I am told I can train on-line in my home in about an hour and ahalf, tonight and be trained. Or I can wait for a month and ahalf for the district to offer me the course.. With both I am equally trained.. Who out there will opt to wait for the course? (Now remember you are new to boyscouts, so previous experience with the benefits of a course will not factor it..?)


Who thinks that the course lead specific training will survive the introduction of the on-line specific training? Do you think it is better to be on-line for the convience and availablility of getting to take it the minute you sign up as a leader? But, who here feels like me that the value of meeting others people from other units, discussing common problems, and meeting people from your district who you may be able to contact for help.


For me. Yes I see the value in offering the training immediatly and not taking a weekend day away from someone for training. That is great.

I do not see the course lead training surviving this change. You will be lucky to get even one person signing up for the course.

Since only one person from the troop needs to go to roundtable, and for us it is not the CC or CM/SM. I see alot of people loosing a chance to build a scouting network.. Learn from others who ask questions, ask your own questions. Ask the instructor to clearify a point you find a little hazy or confusing.


I guess I will have to see the on-line presentation.. But, gut reaction is there will be a loss in value.


Like I said, maybe I am taking it personally, it's like I am taking on the Training position at district to tell alot of dedicated people, that except for outdoor Leader Specifics (which I think is now combined BS Training & OWL) and (BALOO) they are basically out of a job. (an who knows when that will be made available on-line).

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 49
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I don't know - I see the benefits of online training in that a) quality is consistent (I've been to some dreadful in-person courses) and b) it is convenient and c) people might actually do it.


I hear what you are saying about wanting to preserve traditional training and I think there can be advantages in terms of building connections to other leaders in the area and learning from each other. But in my experience, with cub leader training especially, those potential advantages are seriously outweighed by poor quality of delivery. I know it isn't that way everywhere (and I'm sure it wouldn't apply to you, since you clearly care about this topic) but I certainly have seen a lot of it.


Still, I am amazed at the number of adults I interact with in scouting who are not really on the internet (or who don't have easy access to fast modems). Many of those folks will still want to attend a traditional "class" so I don't think traditional training can or should go away.


Maybe, though, having online training could allow your district to get away from "district training day" once or twice a year, and move to a model where you take your service directly to packs and troops as they need you, instead. Imagine doing a follow-up at a pack committee meeting, where everybody had just completed the online course, and you could all actually talk about it together! Now that could open up some worthwhile conversations about how a pack operates.




Link to post
Share on other sites

Internet or not, I feel the networking, conversations, and tension-easing team development that happens among new cub leaders is very important at Cub Specific training. After talking with the Key 3 of my district, they still want me to offer Cub training on a unit basis -- going to units and performing it as requested when they have a group of new leaders.


I'll still have a job, because training has gone on the road in my district. We go out and train entire committees in one afternoon. Training is going to become mandatory for top leaders next year, and all leaders in two years, so that means the more people trained at once for a COR, the better!


The training may be available to your DFS because of his access privileges, but I sure don't see it yet.



Link to post
Share on other sites

I was told this last weekend that it will not actually be available online until June 1st.


We had a district training for Cub specific this last weekend and had 33 Cub leaders and 8 Merit Badge Counselor folks trained. This by far is the largest we have ever had attned for a district level training. Felt like we made a difference! :)


The issue I have with it just being online is you cannot get the discussion that comes out of doing it in person. If you have a question about something you can't exactly talk into the mouse and get a response back from your PC. But if it gets people to get trained then I guess it can't be all bad.


(This message has been edited by scouts-a-lot)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, at least you have me thinking about other ways that we may get our trainers to see some action. Since I have yet to learn what is "traditional", it is harder for me to think outside the box.. Maybe it should be easier because I don't yet even see the box, but it isn't. It is just sort of black with a light way, way, way down there at the end of the tunnel, and someone is standing near the switch way down there about to turn it off.


So changing may mean looking at my current trainers (who I have yet to know who they are). And then figuring out where they live in our district. Then figuring out if we have some areas not covered by a cub scout trainer or boy scout trainier, and looking for people in the area that may make good trainers for the area.


My husband is doing district advancement.. I threaten him today with the idea of "Just you wait until they make merit badge on-line. All boys, will then just be allowed to hop on the internet."


He said. "Over my dead body!!"

Link to post
Share on other sites

On the topic of "Who thinks that the course led specific training will survive the introduction of the on-line specific training?"


I do. And I say that as a trainer, and at the same time I hope that everybody takes the on line training when they have a chance.


But I believe that in person training will survive, and thrive by being better:

-- No longer will Trainers have a monopoly where Leaders "have to sit through" a training in order to get trained, so Trainers are going to have to be better, more creative, in making those visual and participatory "muscle memory" connections (I mean, it's hard to teach a Den Leader how to lead songs or stomp balloons in an on line class!).

-- And I suspect Trainers will get come clues and cues about how to deliver training from seeing the on line versions (knowing what to add and highlight).


[And by the way -- and this bouquet comes from someone who has been very critical of some past on line trainings -- the new Den Leader and Cubmaster Fast Start trainings are terrific and practical. Kudos to the creators.]


One of the ways that Live Training will get better is the "takin' it to the streets" model noted by Lisabob. Training comes off so much better when it isn't just abstract, but can also deal with the real live and local issues that affect a unit. Nothing is worse than when you spend time too much discussing things that a Pack's leaders have already mastered, but not enough on what they need to develop (e.g., some may have great outdoor monthly events, but trouble pulling off good Den Meetings; or vice versa).


On the topic of when online "you cannot get the discussion that comes out of doing it in person", that's true to a point. But I guess it depends on who's at your training. You might get immediate live answers in person, and that's terrific -- especially if the answers are right and helpful (though sometimes in a small group you might get an answer that isn't completely correct)! But with forums like this, I bet we start to see folks posting questions about what they are learning right when they are in their on line classes, and -- who knows -- getting dozens of answers before they log off that on line training.

-- Again, we hope those on line answers are right, and helpful. Caveat Scouter!

-- (But these forums do serve a great purpose to supplement that on line stuff).


Link to post
Share on other sites

"A scout is Trustworthy"


Online training is convienent, yes, will more leaders get trained, maybe, is it better than live interaction with other new leaders and experienced trainers, not even close. Look we have all been to some bad live trainings, however even at these there was always some great networking and sharing of ideas and experiences which online can not replace. My other pet peeve with the current online training is that you can skip all the content, go right to the test at the end easily pass it and get your certificate. So where is the value in that? Some may say a scouter would not do that, well here you are dealing with new leaders and many have no scouting background or ethic as of yet. They are also very strapped for time and very computer savy and will figure this out quite quickly. There is a dynamic to learning in a group that online can not replace and as far as the quality of training received on line to these people we entrust with our kids I don't want them to be able to get a quick easy fix which will result in a poor quality program. "If something is worth doing it is worth doing it right." Online may be okay for some subjects but not for the basic tool kit these scouters will need to be successful and competent, IMHO.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That would be nice "IF" we are given the green flag to do more personal tailored training to a specific units needs. (Again I am a newbie to being on the Training committee) I am told that we are given a syllabus of sorts and must not deviate from that.. But, I have taken the same class multiple times making sure it was in different districts from different trainers. I don't know if the course material changed between trainings. But, I found them cross-training some things, but other things I walked away with different perspectives out of each of the trainings. Personality of the trainer and what he wanted to highlight. Personal examples to illustrate a point. As you said knot tieing games and other activities, or just breaks where you milled around and conversed with others.


That would be nice if our training could get more personal and specific for a Pack or Troop, rather then following a syllabus that they already got through the on-line training.


I kindof got the impression that maybe this we can just offer, if our group wants to. I commented when I was getting training to be on the Training committee, I did not think the committee challenge delved too deep into what committees need to know. It was more this is a treasurer he takes care of the money. This is the Outdoor coordinator, he takes care of the equipment & organizing outings. This is your secretary he does minutes of meetings & thank-you notes.. Etc... OK your trained.. See you.. Anyway, the Council Training Chair said, if I wanted to I could come up with a course to offer if there was an interest.


So do any of you who do training, come up with supplemental training now, that doesn't follow a syllabus, you just don't put a training number to it, but just offer your services for individual training experiences based on the needs of the unit.


We had someone come into the unit once to teach YPT before on-line was available. It was still by the book (with trainer personality added in).. But, this is the only expirence I have had with personal training.


My husband for advancement would love to get more merit badge councilors. He thinks part of it is the need to walk up and ask people, but the other is peoples fear of the unknown, the fear of taking on too much responsibility without realizing it. Maybe we could team up and we can help with educating parents in units on what it is to be a merit badge counsilor..


Is this the type of personalize training your districts are currently doing?

Link to post
Share on other sites

At least for me, I think the best answer would be a combination of on-line and in-person training.


The online training is great for it's convenience. I can sit through an interactive presentation whenever I have 30 minutes or so to spare, get a refresher whenever I want and keep up with those things that require periodic renewal (like YPT) when I need them.


That said, I would also like the opportunity to ask questions and network with my peers. Discussion forums like this are helpful in that regard, but knowing how things are done in my district/council would also be beneficial, as well as having local contacts for a "sounding board".


What I don't want is to give up a whole Saturday drinking bad coffee and watching "This is Scouting" and other titles on DVD while sitting in an uncomfortable chair, then when I'm about at the point where I can't take any more have the traning coordinator turn up the lights and ask "Any questions?".


Let me do the online training on my schedule and then hold an (optional) session to discuss and ask questions. Even better if it's in an outdoor setting. I guess roundtable could meet this need, but so much of roundtable time is dedicated to the topics that the DC/DE want to cover it doesn't leave much time for general Q&A.






Link to post
Share on other sites

If we require training, regardless of method, it should be high quality, respect the trainees' previous experience, and their time.


I think we lose many potential leaders when they realize the time needed to fulfill training requirements. They may attend a course or two and be turned off. I know the suffering I've experienced over the years at various council training events.


Don't get me wrong, I'm all for a trained leader. But scouting should take a serious look at the amount of time expended, and what topics actually need to be taught.


Folks know when their time is being wasted.


On-line stuff has its limitations, but I'd prefer to knock out some training, on-line, after work when it's quiet around the house. Especially if it means I can have a Saturday back to spend with the family, rather than spending the day at the local scout camp enduring powerpoint death marches.


Some training needs to be old school/in person...if we are selective in what those courses are, it will benefit all. Cadres can focus better, and attendees can schedule their lives better.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The powerpoint that desertrat77 stated, I have seen, but only in my recent trainings.. Nice to have, but yes I think it did come from National trying to bring us all into "uniformity". This was not the case during the majority of my training years (maybe that is why my training expierence was unique regardless of taking in multiple times) This uniformity, is newer then my training years and I am "old", "old" school.. Nice, but your right powerpoint did take away something, my old trainings had.


DanceswithSpreadsheets, If the training crew for your district is sitting you down to watch old DVD's you need to kick their butts.. Before on-line Fast start and others were DVD, I as troop Training coordinator would loan them to new Leaders to watch at their convience at home. Now with it being on-line that is ridiculous.


I had no issue with Fast-start, YPT, and This is scouting, along with safty afloat and other saftey videos. YPT & Fast start due to them needing to be redone every two years.. Fast-Start & This is scouting, because these should be ASAP to new leaders..


I do see the merits of the Specifics being offered on-line, but there was so much I learned in the courses, I went to. My husband and I would discuss them going home. With on-line, we just go through them.. Done.. No discussion, few aha minutes.. Just check them off. But, yes the convience of not loosing a Saturday to training when you are already putting in more then "1 hour a week" they always advertise. This is good.


Possibility of our trainers offering more unique specific training to a unit. This may be good for both the units and the trainers.


Still not sure about the survival of the Specific training courses..Scout-a-lot mentioned 33 at their den training, but this is a new course everyone is itching to learn about, and the course was offered before it is available on-line. We ourselves will offer 3 course at our annual kick-off this month, and one at our district round table (Council will do those, not the district trainers).. I do expect a good turn out for those. But, after the on-line is known to be available...


But I think you guys have made me feel better that their is life for the Scout trainers, if they adapt and modify. And if they can make the training more personal, they may be happier with the changes when all is said and done...


Thanks for the insights that can make me feel better, so I can go out an inspire our trainers to feel positive about the changes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I took training on the road this year before National did their mandate for the future -- it's worked really well.


We tailor it to what a unit needs, stress things the CM or CC ask us too, and make it fun for that unit. It's been 5 direct trainings so far this year with 100% training for every committee. It's effective and meaningful.

Link to post
Share on other sites

BSA is going with the online leader specific training mainly because MANDATORY training is coming. Is here already in some councils.


Many leaders are not currently getting trained because they do not want, or have the time, to take council in-person trainings. Some folks live out in rural areas where travel time to trainings is over an hour each way. Also, many councils have a very limited number of training dates. The online training is much more available, and will not be going away.


From what I understand there will still be DVD's, and in-person trainings, to accommodate as many different people/scenarios as possible.


As a trainer for my council/district, I am not limited to a certain area in my district or council. If that were the case we would need 5X the number of trainers we now have, and good luck finding people to fill all those positions. Trainings are staffed with what ever trainers you can find who are available for that training date. You, of course, start with trainers in your district, and area, if none are available you go farther out. I have often staffed trainings hosted by other Districts, and also had to scramble to find staffers from where ever I could for courses I was Director for.


National requires the use of a National syllabus for trainings to help standardize the content nationwide. This means that they want to be sure that leaders across the country are getting the same information when they take the same course. Of course we all know that even then some presentations are better than others. Think how much worse it would be if each council made up their own "customized" trainings.


As for adding special council only trainings, you would need additional trainers to be able to add additional trainings. Again, good luck getting volunteers. Often you will those "special" kinds of classes in your Council's one day "super" trainings. The Pow Wow's, Super Saturday's, University of Scouting, and the like.


Additional training, and interaction with experienced Scouters, can also be found at monthly Roundtables.


Link to post
Share on other sites



I have to take issue with two of your points. First, if online specific is being pushed only because of National's new rules it is yet another quantity over quality scenario that National is so infamous for initiating. Second, scouter interaction and additional training can be found at roundtable, I think we both know that less than 10% of all scouters even attend roundtable, and that roundtable programs I have been to are so structured there is little time for interaction, except on a very superficial level.


Listen I am not against online training for the more generic topics, but leader specific training is the most important first training a new leader will receive and use in their pack, troop, or crew. It is vital that this training is of the highest quality, as well as allowing them to ask questions and hear experiences from veteran scouters which online can not offer. How many scouters do you know that leave during or after the first year because they feel ill prepared and insufficently trained or supported to do their jobs?

What's next doing BALOO, AOLS, Powderhorn, or WoodBadge training online with a virtual camp in the woods setting? Look, computers are great, informative, and helpful but there are some things even computers can't do.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Most volunteers that I know take pride in doing things "the right way" as opposed to "the wrong way". They seek out others with more experience and find out for themselves what the right way of doing things is. But what if the people being sought out are doing things the wrong way? How is a new leader to know?


The BSA's answer to this is standardized training: a specific syllibus and a specific method. It's not the best way of learning, but it ensures that what is taught is "the right way".


Staring at a computer screen is not the most effective way of learning anything. It may get more people their training certificate, but I bet that these new leaders will continue to seek out others with more experience to learn from them. They will have to decide for themselves whether what they see on the computer screen makes more sense as opposed to what they see in real life.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...