The NRA will roll back its “Blended Learning” Basic Pistol class within the next 60 days. My good friend and “The Gun Writer” Blogger Lee Williams, now living in Florida, sent me the news today. “Looks like we win!” he wrote. Indeed.
The NRA rolled out the concept of “Blended Learning” in 2015 for the NRA Basic Pistol class. For years, NRA Basic Pistol has helped introduce people to shooting pistols. It serves to provide a solid foundation for future learning if done right. In short, under “Blended Learning”, the classroom segments of class would be taught on-line. The student would then find a local NRA-certified instructor to conduct the range aspects of the course.
In theory, the wonks at NRA Training thought it a great idea. Standardize the “classroom” teaching and let dedicated instructors handle the live-fire aspects. The folks at Headquarters considered it moving into the 21st Century.
In reality, it made Baby Jesus weep. Enrollees thought the online portions dull and uninspiring. Instructors hated it because students didn’t internalize the online materials well. As such, instructors had to re-teach much of the classroom material. To make matters worse, the NRA charged $60 for the online segment.
NRA’s Training Division faced a whole lot of negative feedback from both instructors and training counselors. Waples Mill pretty much ignored all of the criticisms. In fact, last I heard from the big wigs there, they planned to roll out “Blended Learning” for other NRA training courses as well.
Then they met Lee Williams
Lee Williams took it upon himself to wage his own little insurgency against this new training paradigm. He and I communicated about its shortcomings and he did the same with other instructors. In the end, he sent a letter about the problem with this new hybrid training program to each of the NRA’s Board members. The emails went out yesterday. Today, Lee got a call from the NRA’s Chief of Staff Josh Powell. “We made a mistake,” he told Williams.
Kudos to the NRA for admitting their mistake.
They’ve pledged to make it right in the next 60 days or so.
That is a great Christmas present to America’s gun owners. After all, the NRA runs the nation’s largest and most successful firearm training operation. Millions of Americans have learned firearm safety and the fundamentals from NRA instructors over the decades.
From the Gunwriter Blog.
by Lee Williams
When the National Rifle Association decided to use computers, rather than people, to teach new students important topics such as gun safety and shooting fundamentals, I and thousands of other firearms instructors across the country didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
NRA launched their controversial “blended training” program nearly a year ago.
….Then, on Thursday, I sent an email to each member of NRA’s board of directors, asking them to look into the online program and comment.
Note: There are 76 members of NRA’s board of directors.
This morning, I received a call from Josh Powell, NRA’s chief of staff.
Powell is a former board member who now reports to Wayne LaPierre, NRA’s executive vice president.
“The simple truth is that we made a mistake,” Powell said. “We know we made a mistake, and we’re working very hard exploring a number of solutions to address it.”
Powell said NRA will announce the changes within the next 60 days. For now, the online course — the status quo — remains in effect.