The National Rifle Association gave an early Christmas present to their handgun instructors last year, announcing a rollback of “blended learning” NRA Basic Pistol classes. Details of that rollback have been announced at my pal Lee Williams’ “The Gun Writer” blog today. In short, effective April 4th, student packets for wholly instructor-led courses will become available. NRA instructors will once again be able to offer the NRA Basic Pistol class without the problematic online learning portion.
The NRA rolled out blended learning in 2015 for the NRA Basic Pistol offering. For years, NRA Basic Pistol has helped introduce thousands of people to shooting pistols. It serves to provide a solid foundation for future learning if done right.
Blended learning saw the classroom segments of the popular entry-level class taught on-line. Students would then find a local NRA-certified instructor to conduct the range aspects of the course.
That sounded like a great ideat to the wonks at NRA Training. The theory: standardize the “classroom” teaching and let dedicated instructors handle the live-fire training.
In reality, it made Baby Jesus weep. Enrollees found 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, effectively making a one-day class a two-day commitment for enrollees. To make matters worse, the NRA charged $60 for the online segment.
As a result, the 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.
Until Lee Williams came along.
Lee, a former cop and longtime gun aficionado, took it upon himself to wage his own little insurgency against the new training paradigm. He sent a letter about the problem with this new hybrid training program to each of the NRA’s Board members a week or so before Christmas. A couple of days later, 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 and giving everyday Americans a choice of how they wish to take their NRA Basic Pistol class.
From the Gunwriter Blog.
Howard told me Thursday that the NRA is keeping the online “blended course,” but students will now have the option of taking the entire Basic Pistol course from an actual, live instructor.
The online program just became optional.
If the student still wants to take the first portion of basic pistol online, they can, but they’ll pay the instructor rather than NRA. The Instructor will give the student a password, which Howard called “control codes,” so the student can access the site.
This was planned, Howard said, so instructors, “will have control of the course from the beginning.” …
The new system will go live April 4 — the same day training packets become available.