How does everyone feel about blended learning for Lifeguarding? I don't think that it is good to take away the class time. That is the best time to ask questions for content that participants do not understand. You are losing that human contact. You can't have a Lifeguard go out on the job not understanding the content fully, right?
we just did our first blended learning Lifeguard Review course and it wasn't bad, except that the total classroom/in-water training time wasn't significantly reduced from the standard review course. We are going to hold a full blended learning course in a few weeks exclusively for new-hires with the intent that we can use the classroom time to review red cross material they learned online and then discuss in-depth how those are applied specifically at our facility. We'll see how it goes...
The tests are still in the classroom time, correct?
Blended learning is the future. It saves instructor time, and provides a quality multi-media product that can be designed to test the student for understanding before it moves on to new material. It provides consistent information to every student. No more instructors that decide they do not agree with the information, so do not teach it (fortunately, they are very rare).
It is disappointing to walk into a pool and find the lifeguards are not using rescue tubes because they were trained to not believe in them. Unfortunately, the instructor also supervised them so they did not have them, did not have access to them, and were not trained in how to use them.
We are finding on-line learning in every facet of society any more. College courses are using it, OSHA training companies are using it. Lifeguard training, swim lessons, first aid, CPR, and pool operator training agencies are all now using on-line learning. That does not mean we can replace the in-person instructor and skill assessment, especially when people's lives depend on the lifeguard's skills and training.
I am not sure I agree that you cannot and should not make sure the students understand the on-line learning concepts, but I think a good instructor can work that into their lessons. I like what Nick is saying. I'm reading his comment as saying; review each class and make the changes you need to to make the next one even better.
I work with pools in small rural areas where they depend in that training and certification. They have no trained supervision, no in-service, and no pre-employment testing. We need the blended learning along with excellent in-person instructors to assure people don't become swimming pool victims.
I agree that blended learning is something that is going to happen as technology grows, however, I believe that some jobs, where seconds could be life and death, I have doubts of eliminating majority of class time. However, blended learning does significantly help with showing of videos, especially for facilities that aren't able to show videos.
As for instructors who do not believe in rescue tubes, I believe that the Red Cross is somewhat at fault for this. If the IT that trains the LGI doesn't believe in rescue tubes, then the LGI won't believe in them either. It is a trickle effect kind of thing. The Red Cross could help with this. They could do random instructor reviews or have ITs or implement other reviews. I am also an American Heart Association Instructor was well. In order to become an Instructor for AHA, I have to go to an AHA Training Center to take the instructor class. Beyond the TC class, I have to arrange to have an AHA Observer come in and observe me teaching two classes. After that, I am an official AHA Instructor. Then, every two years I have to have an Observer come in again to observe and recertify me. I believe if the Red Cross implanted something along these lines, it would eliminate some (not all) of the ITs personal preferences.
Although, with everything being said, I am now slowly understanding and agreeing with everything you said. It could have great benefits, and other kinks can be worked out at the closing of each class.