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Valid methods for training delivery

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  • Brian Mott
    I was always told that there are three valid methods for delivering a BSA training module. These are (in order of preference): 1. Group instruction 2. One on
    Message 1 of 30 , Mar 3, 2008
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      I was always told that there are three valid methods for delivering a
      BSA training module. These are (in order of preference):

      1. Group instruction
      2. One on one coaching
      3. Self study (requiring satisfying a trainer that this was done and
      understood)

      I had our council Venturing training chair tell me that you cannot do
      self study for any of the leader specific modules. I did not argue
      too much at that point, because I did not have the written policy in
      front of me. I went to look for the training guidelines at the Scout
      shop, but ours did not have it available at the time.

      Could someone who has the policy let me know where to find it, and
      possible quote the policy for me? Although the initial purpose for my
      question is now a moot point, I still would like to be able to show
      them the official policy, or be corrected myself if I am wrong.

      Thanks in advance,
      Brian Mott
      Midland, MI
    • Richard Damon
      I know of no policy that says that. What might be the case that he is thinking of is that there used to be some published self-study guides for leader specific
      Message 2 of 30 , Mar 3, 2008
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        I know of no policy that says that. What might be the case that he is
        thinking of is that there used to be some published self-study guides for
        leader specific training. I have not seen such a guide come out for the
        current courses (since NLE came out), and he may not know what to do without
        an official self-study guide



        Richard Damon

        Pack Trainer, Pack 306

        Scout Master Troop 302

        Arlington MA

        District Training Chair, Sons of Liberty District, Boston Minuteman Council

        I used to be a fox (NE-I-209) and a good old staffer too (NE-I-234,
        NE-I-244, NE-I-258)

        | >>>-------------------> |



        From: scouter_t@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scouter_t@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
        Of Brian Mott
        Sent: Monday, March 03, 2008 5:22 AM
        To: scouter_t@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [Scouter_T] Valid methods for training delivery



        I was always told that there are three valid methods for delivering a
        BSA training module. These are (in order of preference):

        1. Group instruction
        2. One on one coaching
        3. Self study (requiring satisfying a trainer that this was done and
        understood)

        I had our council Venturing training chair tell me that you cannot do
        self study for any of the leader specific modules. I did not argue
        too much at that point, because I did not have the written policy in
        front of me. I went to look for the training guidelines at the Scout
        shop, but ours did not have it available at the time.

        Could someone who has the policy let me know where to find it, and
        possible quote the policy for me? Although the initial purpose for my
        question is now a moot point, I still would like to be able to show
        them the official policy, or be corrected myself if I am wrong.

        Thanks in advance,
        Brian Mott
        Midland, MI

        __._,_



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Jamie Niss Dunn
        The reference you re looking for is Leadership Training Committee Guide: Plans Procedures Materials . Pages 10-12 goes into the details a of methods of
        Message 3 of 30 , Mar 3, 2008
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          The reference you're looking for is "Leadership Training Committee Guide: Plans Procedures Materials". Pages 10-12 goes into the details a of methods of training, listing and giving details on the three methods you listed.


          YiS,
          Jamie Niss Dunn
          Pack Trainer, Pack 512
          Blaine/Coon Rapids, MN
          Cub Scout Training Coordinator
          Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner
          3 Rivers District
          Scouting. Good for Life.






          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Ilively@comcast.net
          Having recently instructed the Training Management Course in Philmont, I can verify that there are still three valid methods of Training. 1. Group instruction
          Message 4 of 30 , Mar 3, 2008
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            Having recently instructed the Training Management Course in Philmont, I can verify that there are still three valid methods of Training.

            1. Group instruction
            2. One on one coaching
            3. Self study (requiring satisfying a trainer that this was done and understood)

            While there are no self-study guides for the 'new' material, as it was discussed among those at Philmont, the trainers present agreed that they give their syllabi (or copies) to the Scouters for review at their convenience -- within a reasonable time frame. It was often suggested that, whenever possible, the Trainer then meet with the Scouter (lunch? coffee? RoundTable?) to review the material -- more to make sure that the Scouter has no questions about what they read, than to 'test' to see if they understand the material.

            I hope that helps!!


            Ida
          • apatschin75
            I personally think that self-study is one of the least effective methods of training we have started using in BSA. No feedback, no sharing of ideas, no
            Message 5 of 30 , Mar 3, 2008
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              I personally think that "self-study" is one of the least effective
              methods of training we have started using in BSA.

              No feedback, no sharing of ideas, no ascertaining if there is a
              understanding of the material. Learning in a vaccum!

              What is even more appaling, to me, is that we don't even attempt, in
              some cases, ascertaining whether a Scouter has even read the material.

              Guess we may as well give folks a Wood Badge syllabus and when they say
              they are complete, hold the ceremony and give them their beads, woggle
              and neckerchief.
            • Ida Lively
              ... Agreed. But, if that s the ONLY way that a leader can get trained, I d certainly rather that they did self-study, than not get ANY training. Obviously,
              Message 6 of 30 , Mar 3, 2008
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                --- "apatschin75" <tttrack@...> wrote:
                >
                > I personally think that "self-study" is one of the least effective
                > methods of training we have started using in BSA.
                >
                > No feedback, no sharing of ideas, no ascertaining if there is a
                > understanding of the material. Learning in a vaccum!
                >


                Agreed. But, if that's the ONLY way that a leader can get trained,
                I'd certainly rather that they did self-study, than not get ANY training.

                Obviously, group-training is the best, because they can make contacts
                with other leaders JUST LIKE THEM .... however, there's no 'testing'
                in that training either.

                Hopefully, your class size is small enough so that you can interact
                with the majority of your class (reality here, people), but there's
                always one or two 'quiet ones' that you're not sure whether they're
                getting it, whether they're shy, or whether they're bored w/ the whole
                training, and just there because they HAVE to be there.

                When I teach, my largest class sizes are about 30 people. I attempt
                to reach out and get everyone involved during the course of the
                training, but, there's only so much wriggle room in the time for the
                class(es). I'd rather have a small class held more frequently, than
                end up with gigantic classes.






                What about the online training? Isn't THAT self-study? Do you really
                know if the people 'got it'? There's no real 'pass/fail' options.



                Ida
                - stirring the pot
              • bill smith
                Actually, testing is available for all training. It s called Quality reports and Commissioners visits. If a training team really wanted to to learn the
                Message 7 of 30 , Mar 3, 2008
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                  Actually, testing is available for all training. It's called Quality
                  reports and Commissioners visits. If a training team really
                  wanted to to learn the effectiveness of their training, all they have
                  to do it to look at how the folks the trained did when they returned
                  to their units. That is why we train them, isn't it?

                  I have seen group training so poorly done that it may have been better
                  if the leaders had stayed home and just read the books. Roundtables
                  are much better venues for sharing ideas. Some training schedules are so
                  tight for time that very little interaction is permissible. But then
                  I've seen some
                  poor Roundtables too.

                  Good training should produce lots of Quality Units and a Quality district.

                  bill smith
                  Portland, OR

                  Ida Lively wrote:
                  >
                  > --- "apatschin75" <tttrack@...> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > I personally think that "self-study" is one of the least effective
                  > > methods of training we have started using in BSA.
                  > >
                  > > No feedback, no sharing of ideas, no ascertaining if there is a
                  > > understanding of the material. Learning in a vaccum!
                  > >
                  >
                  > Agreed. But, if that's the ONLY way that a leader can get trained,
                  > I'd certainly rather that they did self-study, than not get ANY training.
                  >
                  > Obviously, group-training is the best, because they can make contacts
                  > with other leaders JUST LIKE THEM .... however, there's no 'testing'
                  > in that training either.
                  >
                  > Hopefully, your class size is small enough so that you can interact
                  > with the majority of your class (reality here, people), but there's
                  > always one or two 'quiet ones' that you're not sure whether they're
                  > getting it, whether they're shy, or whether they're bored w/ the whole
                  > training, and just there because they HAVE to be there.
                  >
                  > When I teach, my largest class sizes are about 30 people. I attempt
                  > to reach out and get everyone involved during the course of the
                  > training, but, there's only so much wriggle room in the time for the
                  > class(es). I'd rather have a small class held more frequently, than
                  > end up with gigantic classes.
                  >
                  > What about the online training? Isn't THAT self-study? Do you really
                  > know if the people 'got it'? There's no real 'pass/fail' options.
                  >
                • NeilLup@aol.com
                  ... Hello Bill, I have a Cubmaster/COR of a new unit for which I am Unit Commissioner who said that his schedule doesn t allow him to do group training but
                  Message 8 of 30 , Mar 3, 2008
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                    In a message dated 3/3/08 7:43:03 PM, wt492@... writes:


                    >
                    > Actually, testing is available for all training. It's called Quality
                    > reports and Commissioners visits. If a training team really
                    > wanted to to learn the effectiveness of their training, all they have
                    > to do it to look at how the folks the trained did when they returned
                    > to their units. That is why we train them, isn't it?
                    >
                    >
                    >

                    Hello Bill,

                    I have a Cubmaster/COR of a new unit for which I am Unit Commissioner who
                    said that his schedule doesn't allow him to do group training but that he would
                    do it by self-study, particularly by learning on line. I was concerned
                    until I visited a couple of his meetings. You could make a training video of
                    his meetings, committee, etc! Everything is done exactly the way that we
                    would like.

                    He said that he got his information not only from the official BSA material
                    but from the many, many postings and websites of other Packs throughout the
                    nation. He said that's where he gets his program ideas.

                    I had no problem certifying him as trained based on self-study. He knows
                    his stuff. Could he have benefitted by group training? Undoubtedly.
                    Did I offer personal coaching? Yes I did and he declined. But did he learn
                    the material? You bet!

                    Best wishes,

                    Neil Lupton


                    **************
                    It's Tax Time! Get tips, forms, and advice on AOL
                    Money & Finance.
                    (http://money.aol.com/tax?NCID=aolprf00030000000001)


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Dan Kurtenbach
                    Just a couple of weeks ago, I was in a four-day live training course at work. It was a soul-killing, life-sucking experience. The thing is, the actual
                    Message 9 of 30 , Mar 3, 2008
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                      Just a couple of weeks ago, I was in a four-day "live" training course at work. It was a soul-killing, life-sucking experience. The thing is, the actual _content_ of the course was great. It was the presentation format that was deadly. PowerPoint slide after PowerPoint slide, dense with text. "Presenters" doing little more than reading the slides. We could follow along by reading the slides too, or by reading the copies of the slides they gave in the 3-inch binders. Fortunately, we were being paid to be there.

                      The idea that a live training class is and should be the preferred method of training is simply wrong. In some situations and for some people it may be the best method, but that depends on so many factors that it is impossible to support the generalization. Those factors include the quality of the content, the skill of the trainer, the learning style of the participant, the day of the week, the time of day, the facility and equipment, the other things on the participant's schedule, traffic, the other things on the participant's mind, whether one of the other participants is obnoxious, distance to the course, cost, and numerous other elements that can all affect the success of a live training course.

                      Further, it's not as if Scouters will never see another Scouter outside of training courses. Good heavens, they are all over the place at Scouting events -- and interaction with other Scouters on a regular basis is one of the main purposes of Roundtable.

                      The purpose of a training organization is not to hold training courses -- that is a far too narrow definition. The purpose of a training organization is to help people acquire the knowledge and skill they need to do their jobs. It doesn't matter _how_ that knowledge and skill is transmitted to people who need it -- live classes, online courses, one-on-one discussions, self-study of course materials, or independent research. The trainer's job is to facilitate any and every method that will help people quickly acquire the knowledge and skill they need; not limit, restrict, or channel access to needed information.

                      Dan Kurtenbach
                      Fairfax, VA



                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Charles Seltenright
                      Training no matter what form,as stated before, is important to complete at the earliest possible time.I have used and been part of all three types in the
                      Message 10 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                        Training no matter what form,as stated before, is
                        important to complete at the earliest possible time.I
                        have used and been part of all three types in the
                        scouting program.And can say it was invaluable in each
                        way it was done.I believe the interaction that comes
                        from group training is a key to a very motivated and
                        prepared leader.But it also does not always fit into
                        everyones schedule or more importantly there learning
                        style.Not everyone learns or retains what is taught in
                        the same way.Just look at the way our schools are
                        changing there methods to reach each and every
                        student.
                        I took my commissioners training by self study
                        through our District Commissioner.If I hadnt been
                        allowed to do this at the time I would not have been
                        able to for a long time.What I learned enabled me to
                        go on and put together a successful Roundtable program
                        4 years in a row.I may be one of the exceptions but I
                        am able to learn more from self study than in other
                        ways.But then again I take scouting very seriously and
                        research and study way beyond what is taught in group
                        training.In fact I do self study even after group
                        trainings because I want to be the best leader I can
                        be.
                        That being said I must also add there is absolutely
                        nothing that compares to a Group course that is well
                        put together.Learning from the experience of dozens of
                        other veteran leaders has no comparison.I have spent
                        many great times camping,learning and teaching
                        scouting.And hope to have many more in the future.In
                        fact I will be part of our upcomming Commissioners
                        College,COT and Woodbadge to promote Venturing.
                        One cannot rule out any of the forms of teaching our
                        leaders.All scouts deserve a trained leader and no
                        matter how a leader gets that training shouldnt
                        matter.As long as they learn the material and use it
                        effectively is what truly matters.

                        Charles Seltenright
                        Crew 308 Advisor
                        Troop 337 ASM
                        Nottowa Trails
                        Southwest Michigan Council




                        --- Dan Kurtenbach <danielkurtenbach@...> wrote:

                        > Just a couple of weeks ago, I was in a four-day
                        > "live" training course at work. It was a
                        > soul-killing, life-sucking experience. The thing
                        > is, the actual _content_ of the course was great.
                        > It was the presentation format that was deadly.
                        > PowerPoint slide after PowerPoint slide, dense with
                        > text. "Presenters" doing little more than reading
                        > the slides. We could follow along by reading the
                        > slides too, or by reading the copies of the slides
                        > they gave in the 3-inch binders. Fortunately, we
                        > were being paid to be there.
                        >
                        > The idea that a live training class is and should be
                        > the preferred method of training is simply wrong.
                        > In some situations and for some people it may be the
                        > best method, but that depends on so many factors
                        > that it is impossible to support the generalization.
                        > Those factors include the quality of the content,
                        > the skill of the trainer, the learning style of the
                        > participant, the day of the week, the time of day,
                        > the facility and equipment, the other things on the
                        > participant's schedule, traffic, the other things on
                        > the participant's mind, whether one of the other
                        > participants is obnoxious, distance to the course,
                        > cost, and numerous other elements that can all
                        > affect the success of a live training course.
                        >
                        > Further, it's not as if Scouters will never see
                        > another Scouter outside of training courses. Good
                        > heavens, they are all over the place at Scouting
                        > events -- and interaction with other Scouters on a
                        > regular basis is one of the main purposes of
                        > Roundtable.
                        >
                        > The purpose of a training organization is not to
                        > hold training courses -- that is a far too narrow
                        > definition. The purpose of a training organization
                        > is to help people acquire the knowledge and skill
                        > they need to do their jobs. It doesn't matter _how_
                        > that knowledge and skill is transmitted to people
                        > who need it -- live classes, online courses,
                        > one-on-one discussions, self-study of course
                        > materials, or independent research. The trainer's
                        > job is to facilitate any and every method that will
                        > help people quickly acquire the knowledge and skill
                        > they need; not limit, restrict, or channel access to
                        > needed information.
                        >
                        > Dan Kurtenbach
                        > Fairfax, VA
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > [Non-text portions of this message have been
                        > removed]
                        >
                        >



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                      • apatschin75
                        Certainly we have all been in school or college or business classes that were awful. Technical expertise does not make a good or interesting presenter. We
                        Message 11 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                          Certainly we have all been in school or college or business classes
                          that were awful. Technical expertise does not make a good or
                          interesting presenter.

                          We focus on training trainers to deliver the material in a way that
                          engages the participant in the process.

                          Does it always work, no. But we try to retrain or eliminate those that
                          do not have the talent to be an effective trainer.

                          Can some folks use self-study and it be effective, certainly. The
                          majority of folks, I maintain, do not do well with self-study. The
                          first few months, they need all the training they can get, even if it
                          is one on one it is better than self-study. Whether in a group or one
                          on one, you have the added benefit of developing relationship(s) that
                          give you a pool of folks that you can call and ask questions and advice.

                          The idea is not to withhold training, but to make it the best it can
                          be. I don't think self-study even comes close to meeting the standard
                          of good training.
                        • Glen Hoshizaki
                          Isn t self-study what we ask scouts to do to earn a merit badge?
                          Message 12 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                            Isn't self-study what we ask scouts to do to earn a merit badge?

                            --- In scouter_t@yahoogroups.com, "apatschin75" <tttrack@...> wrote:

                            > The idea is not to withhold training, but to make it the best it can
                            > be. I don't think self-study even comes close to meeting the standard
                            > of good training.
                          • corinnajones@hotmail.com
                            ... From: apatschin75 To: Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 6:43 AM Subject: [Scouter_T] Re: Valid methods for
                            Message 13 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                              ----- Original Message -----
                              From: "apatschin75" <tttrack@...>
                              To: <scouter_t@yahoogroups.com>
                              Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 6:43 AM
                              Subject: [Scouter_T] Re: Valid methods for training delivery


                              > Certainly we have all been in school or college or business classes
                              > that were awful. Technical expertise does not make a good or
                              > interesting presenter.
                              >
                              > We focus on training trainers to deliver the material in a way that
                              > engages the participant in the process.
                              >
                              > Does it always work, no. But we try to retrain or eliminate those that
                              > do not have the talent to be an effective trainer.
                              >
                              > Can some folks use self-study and it be effective, certainly. The
                              > majority of folks, I maintain, do not do well with self-study. The
                              > first few months, they need all the training they can get, even if it
                              > is one on one it is better than self-study. Whether in a group or one
                              > on one, you have the added benefit of developing relationship(s) that
                              > give you a pool of folks that you can call and ask questions and advice.
                              >
                              > The idea is not to withhold training, but to make it the best it can
                              > be. I don't think self-study even comes close to meeting the standard
                              > of good training.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > For subscription and delevery options send a message to:
                              > scouter_t-help@yahoogroups.com
                              >
                              > Scouting The Net - http://www.ScoutingTheNet.com/
                              > Yahoo! Groups Links
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                            • corinnajones@hotmail.com
                              ... From: apatschin75 To: Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 6:43 AM Subject: [Scouter_T] Re: Valid methods for
                              Message 14 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                                ----- Original Message -----
                                From: "apatschin75" <tttrack@...>
                                To: <scouter_t@yahoogroups.com>
                                Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 6:43 AM
                                Subject: [Scouter_T] Re: Valid methods for training delivery


                                > Certainly we have all been in school or college or business classes
                                > that were awful. Technical expertise does not make a good or
                                > interesting presenter.
                                >
                                > We focus on training trainers to deliver the material in a way that
                                > engages the participant in the process.
                                >
                                > Does it always work, no. But we try to retrain or eliminate those that
                                > do not have the talent to be an effective trainer.
                                >
                                > Can some folks use self-study and it be effective, certainly. The
                                > majority of folks, I maintain, do not do well with self-study. The
                                > first few months, they need all the training they can get, even if it
                                > is one on one it is better than self-study. Whether in a group or one
                                > on one, you have the added benefit of developing relationship(s) that
                                > give you a pool of folks that you can call and ask questions and advice.
                                >
                                > The idea is not to withhold training, but to make it the best it can
                                > be. I don't think self-study even comes close to meeting the standard
                                > of good training.
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > For subscription and delevery options send a message to:
                                > scouter_t-help@yahoogroups.com
                                >
                                > Scouting The Net - http://www.ScoutingTheNet.com/
                                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                              • apatschin75
                                If memory serves me correctly, accomplishment of tasks, some demonstration of ability, and a merit badge counselor is somewhere in the merit badge mix. Not
                                Message 15 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                                  If memory serves me correctly, accomplishment of tasks, some
                                  demonstration of ability, and a merit badge counselor is somewhere in
                                  the merit badge mix. Not just self study.

                                  I will now bow out. I understand I'm not going to convice folks, and
                                  they are not going to convice me that self-study is a good method of
                                  training.


                                  YIS
                                • corinnajones@hotmail.com
                                  Sorry, my computer is acting up. After two blank emails, I better have something to say. Again, like in many cases, I think it depends what type of training is
                                  Message 16 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                                    Sorry, my computer is acting up.
                                    After two blank emails, I better have something to say.

                                    Again, like in many cases, I think it depends what type of training is most
                                    effective.
                                    For a new leader the classroom training is usually best. Besides skipping
                                    over information (self-study) or being distracted (online training), it's
                                    great to have Q&A and discussions. Just like roundtable, it's great to know
                                    that others are in the same boat.
                                    For our troop - due to an incident with a young assistant Scoutmaster - our
                                    CO requires annual YPT for all leaders, with a classroom session for the
                                    ASMs age 18 to 20.

                                    Online training is a great option for re-take the YPT anually, checking back
                                    about something in Troop Committee Challenge. Self-study would also be very
                                    practical for those who got trained many years ago and really need a
                                    refresher, but prefer not to sit in the classroom. It is more tailored to
                                    the individual, since certain areas that are unchanged CAN be skipped, while
                                    others can be studied with more depth.

                                    All training is valuable, but it needs to be done in a way most beneficial
                                    for the learning of the trainee.

                                    Apologies again,
                                    Corinna
                                  • Dan Kurtenbach
                                    [apatschin75 wrote:] The idea is not to withhold training, but to make it the best it can be. I don t think self-study even comes close to meeting the standard
                                    Message 17 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                                      [apatschin75 wrote:]
                                      The idea is not to withhold training, but to make it the best it can
                                      be. I don't think self-study even comes close to meeting the standard
                                      of good training.
                                      [/apatschin75]

                                      Again, the issue is _not_ how well or in what form the material is presented. The question is whether the Scouter _learns_ the material. Is he or she coming away with the skills and information needed to do the job? Are the skills and information being retained and used? Arguably, the self-study "process" previously outlined is far more likely to result in actual learning and retention than sitting through a five-hour class. Why? Because (a) the individual is actually motivated to put in the work, and (b) the individual's understanding of the material is being checked and discussed at regular intervals. There is no such individual review with training classes -- to successfully pass those, all you have do is have the endurance to sit there, and look alert every once in a while.

                                      Dan Kurtenbach
                                      Fairfax, VA
                                    • Ida Lively
                                      ... Now wait a minute! You re confusing oranges and tangerines here! (Not far enough apart to be apples and oranges.) Self study is a VALID METHOD of training
                                      Message 18 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                                        >
                                        > I will now bow out. I understand I'm not going to convice folks, and
                                        > they are not going to convice me that self-study is a good method of
                                        > training.
                                        >


                                        Now wait a minute! You're confusing oranges and tangerines here!
                                        (Not far enough apart to be apples and oranges.)


                                        Self study is a VALID METHOD of training .... I don't recall anyone
                                        saying it was a GOOD METHOD of training.

                                        I believe, to a trainer, we've all said that it's the least favorite,
                                        but still by BSA Guidelines a VALID method.


                                        Again, I ask ... is the ONLINE training, not self-study? I know that
                                        trainers on this list still have issues with the online training, even
                                        though National did their best to create the modules so that the
                                        helicopter parent of today's scouts can do the training at their
                                        convenience -- after 10 PM, when Junior is safely abed.

                                        Ida
                                      • Gerry Moon
                                        no ascertaining if there is a understanding of the material .... This one caught my eye. Let s be blunt - most of our training is quantitative, NOT
                                        Message 19 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                                          "no ascertaining if there is a understanding of the material"....

                                          This one caught my eye. Let's be blunt - most of our training is
                                          quantitative, NOT qualitative - it is not an exercise wherein one
                                          demonstrates competency or even a grasp of the material before one is
                                          awarded the completion card. It is an endurance test. If you can sit
                                          all the way thru to the end, you get a trained card. We aren't fooling
                                          too many. Then again, the majority of us are not trained trainers - we
                                          are folks that do this in the hopes that we can help others along. We
                                          are those that can stand and speak before a group. Some of us are
                                          absolutely FANTASTIC presenters. Some of us are on the other end of
                                          that curve. Some of us have districts where training is the law of the
                                          land and the vast majority understand it's something the need to do;
                                          and there are districts where there is NO training and hasn't been for
                                          a very long time.

                                          We aren't testing anyone - or at least it's not part of the plan to do
                                          so. There is a (my perception) huge swath of leaders that cannot or
                                          will not come to a training day and sit thru one or two courses to be
                                          a "trained leader" - under any circumstances, unless it's mandatory -
                                          and if it comes to that, then they will bow out.

                                          I detest "e-learning" - I don't learn much from it, but that is just MY
                                          learning style. I do a lot of it on my job - I work for the 4th largest
                                          software company on the planet. I'd rather have an ILT (instructor-led
                                          training) any day - but it's not cost effective to have that as the
                                          ONLY method available. E-learning, I can do at home or away from the
                                          office. It's cheap, it's available 24x7 and portable.

                                          Like it or not, it is a VIABLE way to get leaders trained. Only the
                                          quality suffers - nature of the beast. Certainly, it's not everyone's
                                          PREFERRED METHOD, but if it reaches even a sliver of those that
                                          can't/won't come to a sit-down session, then it is, as I read over and
                                          over again, "better than nothing" - slightly.

                                          Resistance is futile, though and it's not going to go away. I hope to
                                          be able to spend less time being disappointed with the new training and
                                          more time figuring out how to make it work.

                                          Sorry to vent. I just had a rough OLS-WL weekend.

                                          Gerry Moon
                                          Orlando, FL



                                          --- In scouter_t@yahoogroups.com, "apatschin75" <tttrack@...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > I personally think that "self-study" is one of the least effective
                                          > methods of training we have started using in BSA.
                                          >
                                          > No feedback, no sharing of ideas, no ascertaining if there is a
                                          > understanding of the material. Learning in a vaccum!
                                          >
                                          > What is even more appaling, to me, is that we don't even attempt, in
                                          > some cases, ascertaining whether a Scouter has even read the material.
                                          >
                                          > Guess we may as well give folks a Wood Badge syllabus and when they
                                          say
                                          > they are complete, hold the ceremony and give them their beads,
                                          woggle
                                          > and neckerchief.
                                          >
                                        • NeilLup@aol.com
                                          ... Hello, With respect and not meaning to be attacking you, I believe that what you have posted is a strong symptom of problems that I have seen in many
                                          Message 20 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                                            In a message dated 3/4/08 10:59:43 AM, tttrack@... writes:


                                            > I will now bow out. I understand I'm not going to convice folks, and
                                            > they are not going to convice me that self-study is a good method of
                                            > training.
                                            >

                                            Hello,

                                            With respect and not meaning to be attacking you, I believe that what you
                                            have posted is a strong symptom of problems that I have seen in many Scout
                                            training commitees, training teams etc.

                                            Training committees and training teams like doing training. That's why
                                            they got into training. The ideal situation for many trainers is to show up
                                            well prepared for a good training class, have lots of eager faces waiting for
                                            them when they arrive, put on the great training and leave to the cheers of
                                            the assembled multitude.

                                            What's missing in this picture?

                                            1) Who GOT those people to the training session? Many trainers really do
                                            not like recruiting, etc. in some cases, they don't like the physical
                                            arrangements. In some cases, they don't like writing their own training,
                                            but prefer a detailed script or course outline they can follow. But it does
                                            ask the question "How does it happen that all those eager faces are there?
                                            Who got them there?"

                                            2) How 'bout the people that, for a variety of reasons, won't or can't go
                                            to the training class. What happens for them?

                                            This is a topic of real frustration for me, as you can see. I know of a
                                            trainer who runs an outstanding Boy Scout basic training course using the course
                                            guide from the 1990s. He refuses to change to the newer course guide.
                                            He requires 6 weekdays and a weekend. In terms of quality and of information
                                            given, the course is superb. He does make the effort to recruit, but
                                            it is strictly recruiting to his course and his course plan requiring
                                            attendance at all sessions.

                                            He runs the course once per year and gets 10-15 people. There are probably
                                            100-200 new leaders per year in his service area who need training. If you
                                            ask him about them, he will say "We held the training and it is available
                                            for them."

                                            This is the dilemma and debate. Do we, as trainers, run training courses
                                            or do we get people trained?

                                            I grant you that this trainer may be a bit extreme. But isn't the
                                            difference between him and the leader that says that self-study is not a good method
                                            of training a difference of degree rather than a difference of kind. I would
                                            suggest that self-study IS a good method of training, when done right.
                                            Arguably group training is a better method and attempting to encourage leaders to
                                            go to group training is probably doing them the greatest service. However,
                                            it is our job to get people trained and saying "You didn't go to group
                                            training, group training is the only good way, so tough nuggets, you're
                                            out of luck, there's nothing for you" is, I believe, not doing our job.

                                            With proper mentoring, one can learn a great deal through self-study and
                                            through personal coaching. For some leaders, it may be the only
                                            alternatives. As Ida has said, on-line training is a type of self-study and it can
                                            be powerful.

                                            I try to remember BP's wise saying about baiting the hook with the kind of
                                            food that the fish likes. We like group training. But what kind of food do
                                            the fish like?

                                            Best wishes,

                                            Neil Lupton


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                                          • Glen Hoshizaki
                                            This is actually a huge topic, with many facets. I ve been involved with e-learning for considerably over a decade, many times as a student, sometimes as
                                            Message 21 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                                              This is actually a huge topic, with many facets.

                                              I've been involved with e-learning for considerably over a decade,
                                              many times as a student, sometimes as faculty, and a few years ago I
                                              was one of the founding members of a healthcare system's regional
                                              e-learning committee. Thus, I've seen really good e-learning programs
                                              and really bad ones. Where I've been on the student end, the most
                                              enjoyable e-learning programs have been the instructor-led ones (yes,
                                              e-learning can be instructor-led).

                                              Glen

                                              --- In scouter_t@yahoogroups.com, "Gerry Moon" <gerrymoon32817@...> wrote:
                                              >
                                              > I detest "e-learning" - I don't learn much from it, but that is just MY
                                              > learning style. I do a lot of it on my job - I work for the 4th largest
                                              > software company on the planet. I'd rather have an ILT (instructor-led
                                              > training) any day - but it's not cost effective to have that as the
                                              > ONLY method available. E-learning, I can do at home or away from the
                                              > office. It's cheap, it's available 24x7 and portable.
                                              >
                                              > Like it or not, it is a VIABLE way to get leaders trained. Only the
                                              > quality suffers - nature of the beast. Certainly, it's not everyone's
                                              > PREFERRED METHOD, but if it reaches even a sliver of those that
                                              > can't/won't come to a sit-down session, then it is, as I read over and
                                              > over again, "better than nothing" - slightly.
                                            • Alpvalsys@aol.com
                                              In a message dated 3/4/2008 10:52:44 A.M. EST, Corinna wrote:
                                              Message 22 of 30 , Mar 5, 2008
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                                                In a message dated 3/4/2008 10:52:44 A.M. EST, Corinna wrote:

                                                < For a new leader the classroom training is usually best. Besides skipping
                                                over information (self-study) or being distracted (online training), it's
                                                great to have Q&A and discussions. >

                                                At last night's District Committee meeting I mentioned that I've registered
                                                to take Youth Protection and SA/SSD training at our upcoming Institute of
                                                Scouting. Somebody asked why I'd signed up for them when on-line training is
                                                available. It's simple; I know I'll get more out of it in a classroom
                                                situation than I'll ever get sitting in front of the tube (which is when the
                                                District Commissioner made his comment about all the e-mails I forward to him
                                                <VBG>). Classroom training is a good refresher for us old timers, too.

                                                Ralph V. Balfoort, UC
                                                I used to be a beaver (NE III-135)
                                                In the Beaver Patrol as a Scout
                                                And still Ktemaque (Beaver) Chapter,
                                                Kittan Lodge #364, OA






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                                              • Dan Kurtenbach
                                                [Neil Lupton wrote:] I know of a trainer who runs an outstanding Boy Scout basic training course using the course guide from the 1990s. He refuses to change
                                                Message 23 of 30 , Mar 5, 2008
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                                                  [Neil Lupton wrote:]
                                                  I know of a trainer who runs an outstanding Boy Scout basic training course using the course guide from the 1990s. He refuses to change to the newer course guide. He requires 6 weekdays and a weekend. In terms of quality and of information given, the course is superb . . . He runs the course once per year and gets 10-15 people. There are probably 100-200 new leaders per year in his service area who need training.
                                                  [/Neil]

                                                  This reminds me of an episode of the television show "M*A*S*H." When Dr. Winchester first arrives, he is something of a perfectionist in the operating room. While the wounded are stacking up outside, he is making sure his stitches are neat.

                                                  [Neil continued:]
                                                  This is the dilemma and debate. Do we, as trainers, run training courses or do we get people trained?
                                                  [/Neil]

                                                  Scouts and parents aren't going to care _how_ Scoutmaster Tom learned his stuff; all that matters to them is that he learned it. It doesn't matter a bit to them if he is wearing a "Trained" strip -- that only matters to the folks who compile statistics. Which bottom line should we really be looking at?

                                                  Dan Kurtenbach
                                                  Fairfax, VA
                                                • gottshalld@aol.com
                                                  Neil brings up several important questions and comments on a training course that I have helped staff for the past 10 years. First, Neil asks Who GOT those
                                                  Message 24 of 30 , Mar 5, 2008
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                                                    Neil brings up several important questions and comments on a training
                                                    course that I have helped staff for the past 10 years.


                                                    First, Neil asks "Who GOT those people to the training session?"

                                                    The answer is that the trainee did. In our life of ever competing
                                                    priorities, the trainee felt that the training was worth his time,
                                                    money and effort. There is a difference between recruiting and
                                                    promoting. Training committees promote their courses through council
                                                    web site, district mailings, round table presentations, and providing
                                                    an excellent training experience. Commissioners identify and recruit
                                                    trainees through the rechartering process and unit visitation.

                                                    As a trained unit leader, I encourage new leaders in my unit to make
                                                    the time to take training for their position. I state unequivocally
                                                    that the best possible BSA program can only be delivered by trained BSA
                                                    leaders. Do you want to provide the best possible program for your
                                                    son? If so, go get trained.


                                                    Second, Neil asks "How 'bout the people that, for a variety of reasons,
                                                    won't or can't go to the training class. What happens for them?"

                                                    The answer is if they won't go, they have made a the decision, right or
                                                    wrong, that class-based training was not worth their time. As has been
                                                    discussed over the past several days, there are other modes of training
                                                    that are more flexible from a logistical standpoint. These are
                                                    mentoring and self-study. Is there a down side to these modes?
                                                    Absolutely. You lose the group interaction and first-hand experiences
                                                    of other leaders, both trainees and trainers. To a certain extent, you
                                                    lose out on networking opportunities.

                                                    The answer is if they can't go "to a particular course," other class
                                                    opportunities should be made available. This can be done
                                                    inter-district or inter-council. If they can't make those dates,
                                                    mentoring and self-study are viable options.


                                                    In our council, we provide both council-wide and district training
                                                    opportunities. Training committees schedule, staff, promote, and
                                                    prepare for these opportunities. They can be provided as stand-alone
                                                    events both as local unit and as district-wide opportunities. They are
                                                    provided at district round tables, and integrated into other district
                                                    and council programs. I am sure that this is similar to most training
                                                    programs. From this, we can see that training opportunities are not
                                                    the problem.

                                                    Neil is correct. Within my district, which serves 12 towns and a local
                                                    Air Force base, we probably have 25 troops, which register about 400
                                                    adults with a turnover of about 100 leaders each year. We are well
                                                    below the National recommended number of unit commissioners for the
                                                    number of units registered. Several of our district committees are
                                                    "Committees of One or None." The district Boy Scout Training Committee
                                                    has a standing committee of less than five, most holding significant
                                                    unit leadership roles in addition to supporting the district.

                                                    Some of those troops have close to 100% trained adults, many Wood Badge
                                                    trained. Some have none. I have found that units come in two
                                                    categories:

                                                    - Unit thinks that training is critical to running a quality program.
                                                    - Unit thinks that if training was that important, it would be required.

                                                    Some of the latter units also have a culture of not participating in
                                                    district or council program at all. They "do it on their own". The
                                                    "Vanilla" Scoutmaster-Specific Training is offered twice a year within
                                                    the council. The "Vanilla" Outdoor Leader Skills is offered once a
                                                    year within the council. Over the past several years, these courses
                                                    were canceled due to lack of interest or logistical issues. This makes
                                                    it very difficult to fill upcoming Wood Badge courses.

                                                    The course Neil spoke of entitled Scoutmaster Fundamentals Plus. It is
                                                    provided as a district training course and is open to all adult leaders
                                                    within the council. The course runs six evenings, a weekend, and a
                                                    closing banquet. While the course is based upon a more historical
                                                    format, the course content covers the current training continuum for
                                                    the following training modules:

                                                    Boy Scout Fast Start
                                                    New Leader Essentials
                                                    Boy Scout Specific Training
                                                    Troop Committee Challenge
                                                    Outdoor Leader Skills

                                                    It relies heavily on the patrol method, with each participant having
                                                    the opportunity to be a patrol leader and assistant patrol leader,
                                                    participating in a PLC, and leading a patrol meeting. It provides
                                                    background in small group dynamics (utilizing White Stag leadership
                                                    competencies), develops "friendly" inter-patrol competition, and
                                                    emphasizes the importance of a boy-led troop. It provides role-playing
                                                    scenarios in areas of both adult and youth conflict resolution and the
                                                    use of reflection as a tool.

                                                    Hands-on scout skills development is provided in the following areas:

                                                    Knots and Lashings
                                                    Map and Compass
                                                    First Aid
                                                    Games

                                                    Presentation skills are also reviewed and each participant selects,
                                                    develops, and presents "real-life" skill instruction, with their own
                                                    developed aids, to their patrol with each member providing feedback and
                                                    evaluation.

                                                    We are currently in Week Three of the course and have 19 participants
                                                    and a staff of 10.

                                                    A couple things to note:

                                                    - Troops who attend the course have a tendency to keep coming back.
                                                    Course evaluations note the "added value" of the course content.

                                                    - Troops who attend the course encourage Cub Leaders from associated
                                                    packs to attend. Course evaluations note the "big picture" perspective
                                                    of the course.

                                                    - Participants want to come back and staff the course because they had
                                                    fun and see the staff having fun. On average, 20 % of the staff are
                                                    new.

                                                    - Staff provide "lifetime support" to participants. If participants
                                                    have a question or a need, they can call their troop guides. We
                                                    develop relationships over a two month period. This provides a level
                                                    of trust and understanding not developed in a one-off course.

                                                    The trainer that Neil calls out has served his unit, district, and
                                                    council since long before its inception in 1993. He was a Scoutmaster
                                                    for over 20 years. He successfully directed Council JLT for over a
                                                    decade. He is 4-bead Wood Badger and two time Philmont Crew adviser.
                                                    He has served a District Boy Scout Round Table Commissioner, Council
                                                    Training Chair, District Training Chair, and developed and presented
                                                    "Supplemental Training" before that was what it was called, including
                                                    Low-Impact Camping. If commitment to excellence is "extreme", I guess
                                                    both he and I are extreme ... extremely committed to making sure that
                                                    unit leaders have the best possible chance to provide the best possible
                                                    program.


                                                    Scouting is about commitment. Commitment from the Chartered
                                                    Organization to ensure quality adult leadership. Commitment from the
                                                    Troop Committee Chairman to get trained and require training for his
                                                    Scoutmaster. Commitment from the Scoutmaster to get trained and
                                                    require training for his Assistants. Commitment from the Council and
                                                    District to ensure quality adult leadership. Commitment from training
                                                    committees to provide excellent training experiences.


                                                    The frustration comes when some are willing pencil-whip 100 adults a
                                                    year through "training" and consider it a success and that providing a
                                                    tool box of resources for the ultimate Scout Adventure to 20 is
                                                    considered a failure.


                                                    As Harold says "Every boy deserves a trained leader." He is training
                                                    20 now. Who will step up a train the next 20? We have open seats for
                                                    as many as want to be trained in February 2009.

                                                    Just my 2 cents ...

                                                    Dave Gottshall
                                                    Member - Flintlock District Training Committee
                                                    Boston Minuteman Council
                                                    Current Member of 2009 SMF+ Staff - "Laura's Leopards"
                                                    Past Proud Scoutmaster of "Gottshall's Goats"
                                                  • apatschin75
                                                    Said I was gonna bow out, but am intrigued!!! You are running the old format with the new information? Tom Travis
                                                    Message 25 of 30 , Mar 5, 2008
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                                                      Said I was gonna bow out, but am intrigued!!!

                                                      You are running the old format with the new information?

                                                      Tom Travis
                                                    • NeilLup@aol.com
                                                      My colleague Dave Gottshall and I often don t see things the same. This is not in any way bad. He has presented the opposite side of the post which I made.
                                                      Message 26 of 30 , Mar 5, 2008
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                                                        My colleague Dave Gottshall and I often don't see things the same. This is
                                                        not in any way bad.

                                                        He has presented the opposite side of the post which I made. I hope that
                                                        the listmembers here will read both posts and combine the information presented
                                                        to improve training in their area.

                                                        Best wishes,

                                                        Neil Lupton


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                                                      • Dan Kurtenbach
                                                        [Dave Gottshall wrote:] The frustration comes when some are willing pencil-whip 100 adults a year through training and consider it a success and that
                                                        Message 27 of 30 , Mar 5, 2008
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                                                          [Dave Gottshall wrote:]
                                                          The frustration comes when some are willing pencil-whip 100 adults a
                                                          year through "training" and consider it a success and that providing a
                                                          tool box of resources for the ultimate Scout Adventure to 20 is
                                                          considered a failure.
                                                          [/Dave]

                                                          But again, missing the point. You're talking about which kind of training has more good stuff in it. Doesn't matter. Irrelevant. The elite, comprehensive course and the standard butt-in-chair course are equally ineffective for the leader who isn't there.

                                                          As trainers in the Boy Scouts of America, our constituents are the Scouts whose adult leaders don't have the skills and information they need to do their jobs. Our mission is to reach and teach those leaders.

                                                          Now, running a training course for leaders who are highly committed to learning is not exactly challenging, and, frankly, not particularly important. Those leaders will find out what they need to know, and pick up the skills they need to have, regardless of how good or how poor one particular training course is. Their Scouts are in good hands regardless.

                                                          The challenge is reaching and teaching the leaders who can't or won't show up at a central location at an appointed hour, or who show up but don't really pay attention, or who don't do well with lecture-type training. Even if those leaders are too busy or work weekends or are lazy or learn better visually or think they don't need any stinking training, their Scouts -- our constituents -- still deserve good programs.

                                                          Our standard of performance isn't how good our training courses are; it is whether we are serving those Scouts by reaching and teaching the leaders who need it.

                                                          Dan Kurtenbach
                                                          Fairfax, VA
                                                        • gottshalld@aol.com
                                                          Dan brings up two points that I would like to comment on: Dan says The challenge is reaching and teaching the leaders who can t or won t show up at a central
                                                          Message 28 of 30 , Mar 6, 2008
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                                                            Dan brings up two points that I would like to comment on:

                                                            Dan says "The challenge is reaching and teaching the leaders who can't
                                                            or won't show up at a central location at an appointed hour, or who
                                                            show up but don't really pay attention, or who don't do well with
                                                            lecture-type training. Even if those leaders are too busy or work
                                                            weekends or are lazy or learn better visually or think they don't need
                                                            any stinking training, their Scouts -- our constituents -- still
                                                            deserve good programs."

                                                            As Neil, I, and others have noted previously, there are at least three
                                                            different training modes available: class training, mentoring, and
                                                            self-study. As part of district or council training committees, we can
                                                            and should promote all modes of training.

                                                            As a district trainer, for the vast majority of my responsibilities, my
                                                            constituents are adult unit leaders, not youth members. What we fail to
                                                            impart to those adult unit leaders is that their constituents, the
                                                            unit's youth, are being cheated of the best possible program through
                                                            their recalcitrance to participate in training; ANY mode of training.

                                                            IMHO, it is not the district trainers responsibility to chase down
                                                            those who choose not to be trained. It is our responsibility to provide
                                                            the best available training experience possible and to promote all
                                                            modes of training. It is the responsibility of unit commissioners to
                                                            remind units of the importance of training and to provide information
                                                            regarding training opportunities. It is the responsibility of the IH,
                                                            COR, and CC to "make" training a part of the unit leaders required
                                                            tasks to ensure that the best possible program is being provided to the
                                                            unit's youth.

                                                            Dan also says "Our standard of performance isn't how good our training
                                                            courses are; it is whether we are serving those Scouts by reaching and
                                                            teaching the leaders who need it."

                                                            To the first part of this statement, I strongly disagree. As a district
                                                            trainer, we provide opportunities for training. That training needs to
                                                            be the BEST it can be. It needs to be engaging, informative, and
                                                            entertaining. At the end of each course, participants should leave with
                                                            the realization that BSA training is worth the time, money, and effort.
                                                            They need to go back to their unit talking about what they learned and
                                                            how it will help them make THEIR unit better. If course training is not
                                                            an option, then another mode can be utilized.

                                                            We know all adult leaders need training, whether they know it or not.
                                                            We know every unit will benefit from having trained adult leaders. We
                                                            also know that we can not make adult leaders take training. They must
                                                            to want to be trained.

                                                            As far as standards go, metric measure what you design them to measure.
                                                            For BSA training, attendance is almost meaningless. As Dan noted, adult
                                                            leaders that are coerced into attending training get a card and little
                                                            more. The bottom line is successful boy-led units, more time than not,
                                                            have WELL trained leaders. Those leaders know the value of quality
                                                            training.

                                                            Just my two cents ... your mileage may vary

                                                            Dave Gottshall
                                                            Flintlock District Training Committee
                                                            Boston Minuteman Council
                                                          • Dan Kurtenbach
                                                            In a thoughtful post, Dave Gottshall outlines one philosophical view of our role as trainers: IMHO, it is not the district trainers responsibility to chase
                                                            Message 29 of 30 , Mar 6, 2008
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                                                              In a thoughtful post, Dave Gottshall outlines one philosophical view of our role as trainers:

                                                              "IMHO, it is not the district trainers responsibility to chase down
                                                              those who choose not to be trained. It is our responsibility to provide
                                                              the best available training experience possible and to promote all
                                                              modes of training. It is the responsibility of unit commissioners to
                                                              remind units of the importance of training and to provide information
                                                              regarding training opportunities. It is the responsibility of the IH,
                                                              COR, and CC to "make" training a part of the unit leaders required
                                                              tasks to ensure that the best possible program is being provided to the
                                                              unit's youth."

                                                              At the same time, Dave notes a big caveat:

                                                              "For BSA training, attendance is almost meaningless. As Dan noted, adult
                                                              leaders that are coerced into attending training get a card and little
                                                              more."

                                                              In essence, _this_ philosophy of the trainer's role is: We can only help the ones who affirmatively come to training with a genuine desire to learn. We can promote training, we can try to convince leaders to come out for training, we can urge them to get everything out of it that they can, but in the end, it is up to them.

                                                              That sounds reasonable.

                                                              But what about the rest? What about all those other leaders out there? Sad -- but not our problem, right? We wring our hands, and ask "How can we get these people to training?" all the while knowing that we can't, or that for many of them, it wouldn't matter anyway.

                                                              This is why I think this view is fundamentally flawed. We should not just write off a large percentage of our leadership corps. For the sake of their Scouts, we should not write them off. If our job is just to teach the easy ones, the ones who would get out and learn what they need to know anyway, then we aren't making much of a contribution to Scouting.

                                                              I don't think the question should be "How can we get these people to training?" I think it should be "How can we get training to these people?" That's not a job for UCs or CORs or IHs. We're the trainers. It's our job.

                                                              Dan Kurtenbach
                                                              Fairfax, VA
                                                            • Dan Kurtenbach
                                                              I would just like to expand a little bit on my last comments on this issue. I concluded that post with: I don t think the question should be How can we get
                                                              Message 30 of 30 , Mar 7, 2008
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                                                                I would just like to expand a little bit on my last comments on this issue. I concluded that post with: "I don't think the question should be 'How can we get these people to training?' I think it should be 'How can we get training to these people?' That's not a job for UCs or CORs or IHs. We're the trainers. It's our job."

                                                                The design of our current training system fails, what, 25%, 40%, even 60% [?] of our Scout leaders either completely or to a significant degree because it makes no provision for those who do not seek out training or those who don't have a willingness to learn. And yes, I understand the counter-argument that it is really those leaders who are failing -- both themselves and their Scouts -- by not taking advantage of training. Granted. But that doesn't change the fact that those "training failures" are out there in large numbers leading Scouts, having poor programs, causing some boys to leave Scouting and other boys to not join. Our object has to be to reduce those numbers.

                                                                Our current system is built on the notion that "Training" offers leaders something that they can't get anywhere else.

                                                                However, all the knowledge and skill that a Scouter needs (and far more than he could get in any training course) is all around him or her already. It is in publications he already has on hand or that are easily accessible: The Boy Scout Handbook, the Scoutmaster Handbook, the Fieldbook, the Troop Committee Guide, the Wilderness Training Manual, etc., etc. It is out on the Internet in more forms than can possibly be counted. And all of that "real world" experience, and the contacts with other Scouters that are touted as the main advantages of "live" training courses? Well, those same people are already all around, too. They are at Roundtable and Camporees and Merit Badge clinics, and maybe in a Scouter's own unit. It is all there; and a lot of it is available "on demand" for those folks who like their information delivered "just in time."

                                                                What Training attempts to do is synthesize, summarize, prioritize, and analyze selected pieces of that information, put it in context, and provide the Scouter with an (at least rudimentary) understanding of how it is all supposed to work, what is important, and what he or she is supposed to do. A good training course can do that, and do it very, very well, for a Scouter who is open to the experience. We also know that we have a lot of mediocre and marginal training courses out there that don't provide much help even to the willing Scouter, and we have a lot of Scouters who attend training courses but aren't really engaged regardless of how good the course is.

                                                                Thus it isn't the training course that people need; the training course is just a vehicle. Rather, it is the right skill, the right knowledge, the right experience, and the right understanding that people need. How leaders get the right skill, the right knowledge, the right experience, and the right understanding is pretty much irrelevant. What matters is that they get it. A good training course can do it for a willing Scouter. I see our challenge as finding ways to do it for everyone else.
                                                                I think the place to start, for each leadership position, is to ask: What does this leader need to know, and when does he/she need to know it? I think that with that information, we can then begin to understand the learning needs of every leader from the very beginning of the leadership lifecycle. From there, we can begin to figure out how to get the needed skill, knowledge, experience, and understanding to that leader at or before the time he/she needs it.

                                                                And you know, that doesn't require any changes at all to how we currently do training. So, the folks who think our mission is simply to put on good training courses can continue right on doing what they are doing, the folks who think we have other obligations can do what they need to do, and neither group will get in the other's way.

                                                                Dan Kurtenbach
                                                                Fairfax, VA
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