New Web courses make training more accessible to Scouting leaders

Scouting U’s new online training courses will help volunteers learn what they need when they need it.

GettingTrained

AT YOUR SON’S pack meeting, a parent hands you a red, blue and white registration form. Before you know it, you’ve agreed to take the place of a retiring den leader. There’s one problem: You know very little about Scouting, except for how awesome it is, according to your 8-year-old.

When you’re faced with getting trained for a new leadership role or expanding your Scouting knowledge, how do you make time for it all without skimping on the details you need to be successful?

Here’s where the BSA’s Scouting U comes in. Listening to feedback from volunteers, Scouting U redesigned its online training for adult leaders, making it more convenient than ever to earn your Trained badge.

The new Web-based courses deliver high-quality online learning experiences tailored for each volunteer’s role.

Whether you’re a new leader or a seasoned Scouter, your mission remains the same: providing Scouts or Venturers with the best possible Scouting experiences. Here’s how you can harness these new training tools and make this your unit’s best year yet.


GettingTrainedDerby

Rethinking Online Learning
If you’re a new-to-Scouting leader, the first step to getting trained is completing Youth Protection training at my.scouting.org. Next, choose how you’d like to complete your training.

Are you the type of person who thrives on learning in a group setting? Check with your local council and sign up for the next available face-to-face leader training. This type of training isn’t going away. A leader position-specific training session typically takes three hours, often on a Saturday, and it gives you a chance to learn from and interact with an experienced instructor and other volunteers.

If you prefer completing this work on your own time (and in your pajamas), tap into the new training courses available at my.scouting.org from your home computer or tablet. In conjunction with the release of the new Cub Scouting program, Scouting U revised new leader training on my.scouting.org to be even more convenient without sacrificing the knowledge you need.

(Revised Venturing leader training will be available in this new format by the end of the year and new Boy Scouting training will be released in the spring of 2016. The existing online leader training can be accessed at my.scouting.org.)

Web-based courses are not new to the BSA. Leaders have been completing Youth Protection training, leader position-specific training and much more online for years. But these courses were delivered in one all-encompassing session, taking about 30 to 40 minutes to complete.

The experts at Scouting U found that today’s adult learner prefers to consume smaller chunks of knowledge versus a “one and done” class, says Steve Yackel, team leader of Instructional Design at Scouting U. Adults also retain more knowledge, he says, if they are given the chance to put their newfound skills into action.

These basic tenets drove the creation of new training courses for leaders at my.scouting.org. Instead of one 45-minute video, learners now watch a series of eight- to 10-minute interactive videos broken into three major learning segments. Volunteers put the lessons into practice before moving on to the next segment.

“Leaders can participate in learning at their convenience, they get a chance to apply this knowledge, then come back and learn more,” Yackel says.


GettingTrainedCub

Experiential Learning
If you decide to complete leader position-specific training online, you’ll enter the new LearnCenter at my.scouting.org.

There you will see your assigned learning plan based on your registered volunteer position. You can choose to start this learning plan immediately after you complete Youth Protection training.

On your learning plan dashboard, you’ll see three sections of lessons: Before the First Meeting, Within 30 Days and Position Trained. Each section contains four to eight lessons focused on specific training topics that build on each other as you go.

For instance, the first section includes lessons that help you prepare to get started, such as Venturing Getting Started, Cub Scouting Ideals and more. “You don’t have to learn everything up front,” Yackel explains. “You can learn what you need and then immediately put that into action at your first meeting.”

The learn-and-experience method is what really sets the new Web-based training courses apart from face-to-face classes, he adds.

Of course, some volunteers may wish to complete all the lessons before their first unit meeting, and that’s OK, too. Each training video is organized by topic, which means you can go back and revisit subjects that apply to challenges or questions you might face down the road.

In all, the new online leader position-specific training takes about three hours to complete — unlike past Web-based training, which took about 30 minutes or longer. This means online learners do not sacrifice knowledge for the sake of convenience, Yackel says. “There was quite a bit of detail that had to be left out [of the old Web training courses] because it couldn’t all be squeezed into one video,” he says. “That’s different now.”

The system also helps volunteers stay on pace to complete their training. Once you start a learning plan, you will receive reminder emails to complete lessons before each due date.

Your profile will show you’re officially “trained” once you complete all three sections. The goal is to accomplish your learning plan within 90 days of registration.


What’s Next?
Just donning a Trained patch on your uniform sleeve doesn’t mean you’re done learning.

You can find sessions on Weather Hazards, Safety Afloat and more on my.scouting.org. These learning opportunities prepare you for leading Scouts or Venturers on campouts and outdoor activities.

When you’re ready to take your Scouting knowledge even further, reach out to your local council for face-to-face courses like Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation (BALOO), Powder Horn, Outdoor Leadership Skills courses, Wood Badge and others. (Read more about these training opportunities below.) Not only will these courses add depth to your leadership skills, but you’ll also meet and network with other Scouters in your area.

If you’re still looking for ways to connect with others or improve your Scouts’ experience in your pack, troop or crew, take a look at the enrichment ideas (in the chart on the opposite page), and stay tuned to my.scouting.org for more updated courses added to the Learning Management System.


Prepared for Adventure
Ready to lead your Scouts on an adventure? Before you plan an outing involving water, boating, hiking or climbing, you must first complete the training sessions required for leaders. Find all the courses listed below at my.scouting.org.

Safe Swim Defense: Prepares and qualifies leaders to supervise any swimming activities with their pack, troop or crew.

Safety Afloat: Prepares and qualifies leaders to supervise activities involving canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sailboats, motorboats and other watercraft.

Weather Hazards: Teaches leaders how to plan and take precautions for weather events during a Scouting outing.

Climb On Safely: Required training for leaders organizing a climbing or rappelling activity with their unit.

Trek Safely: Designed for both youth and adults, this training session prepares hikers for a backcountry trek.


The Pinnacle of Training
Looking to make your leadership skills even stronger? Find a Wood Badge course near you. (Check with your local council.)

This is advanced training in leadership skills offered to all adult Scouters. During this hands-on course, you’ll learn more about putting the patrol method into action as you camp as a group. You’ll also learn team-building games to help strengthen your unit. Plus, there’s the added benefit of the friendships you’ll make with other adult Scouting leaders. Read more about Wood Badge at scoutingmagazine.org/woodbadge.


New to Scouting? Check out our New Leader Guide to simplify your Scouting experience: scoutingmagazine.org/newleaderguide.

23 Comments

  1. Web training represents the bare minimum to me. I have been a Pack, District and Council Trainer and nothing, I repeat nothing replaces face to face in person training. The ability to ask and answer questions is crucial to learning. So many leaders wear more than one hat that the opportunity to learn balance and juggling from other leaders is needed in training. Look at the number of grass roots social media groups where leaders, even long seasoned ones seek counsel with peers. These offer evidence that leaders need more than the Web Training offered.

  2. This was just a discussion yesterday. Whose idea was it to use my.scouting as opposed to myscouting, and why is there so much trouble for some leaders to get from one to the other? Outside of the obvious name similarities. The one man couldn’t use his myscouting login at my.scouting, and when he went the “forgot my login” route got a hint that didn’t help him.

    • All the training has moved from myscouting.org to the new central portal at my.scouting.org. While that may lead to confusion, remember, you only need to know my.scouting.org.

  3. All this sounds wonderful and much of the new content is quite good (although the website is not user-friendly). But you can’t complete the training because BSA released incomplete courses. All three of the new Cub Scout leader courses are missing several of the modules that are labeled as still under development and “coming soon.” An email to ScoutingU and two phone conversations with Member Care representatives, and no one can tell me when they will be completed. Why on earth would BSA release this before it is completed? The result is that most of our new Cub Scout leaders won’t be trained in time for re-charter (few are willing to take instructor-led in-person courses).

  4. Again Boy Scouts of America wants all leaders to be trained for their position and that’s a good goal for all leaders to be trained. Yet they the approach by using web or online training for training in my estimation this is taking training in your pajamas. Are we so lazy as scouters not to take time training in classroom setting and instructor?
    Apparently national believes this the answer….I don’t pajamas classroom is valid.. Many of us have gone to Philmont and they don’t have pajama training.
    The issue of training isn’t about availability it’s about your commitment to scouting. I how in the council I am with less then 30% of our unit leaders are trained.. Why? Apparently nearly 70% do not have the commitment to scouting and having a good rated program.
    Nothing better in scouting training than being with other scouters and sharing like experiences with others and the instructors.
    Question to ponder: Perhaps in the future Woodbadge will be online or webinars?

  5. I think all the online is now available at my(dot)scouting(dot)org.

    Check the “Tools and Resources” tab in the online training center. There is a list of links to other places for good information.

    As to moving from the old site (myscouting(dot)org to the new site. you shouldn’t need to check the old site any more. I haven’t checked to see what’;s left there, but ALL is moving (either now or soon) to the new site my(dot)scouting(dot)org.

    I have created an “Unofficial Guide to the BSA LearnCenter” . Once it has gone through a couple reviews, I intend to make it available. It will be updated as other program online training courses are added.

    • I would like to see that! I have so many parents get lost in the
      BSA website rabbit hole, including myself. I actually tell folks:
      if you see what you want on the website, print it, you may never
      find it again!

      • They just updated the Cub Scout online modules to include time for each module.

        They also now have the Venturing courses online.

        They are still saying 2016 for the Boy Scout and Exploring courses – although they said late 2015 for Venturing that just went live.

        As for where to go: You should always start at the my.Scouting Tools website (my.scouting.0rg) (note there is no www!). Some items haven’t migrated to the new website. It is located on the old website – but you still access it from the above website. Once you have logged in, if you click on “Home” you’ll see a drop-down list. Click on “Legacy Web Tools”. There you’ll see the list of items still on the old site. Just click on the one you want and you’ll be taken to the old website.

        Paul Yelk
        Council Training Registrar
        Inland Northwest Council
        Spokane WA
        “Once a FOx, always a Fox”

  6. Wood Badge could do so much more to teach the Patrol Method, given that no BSA training has the learning objective that the participant learn what makes up the Patrol Method. It could, for example, undertake to EXPLAIN the mandatory Patrol Method. For example, it could tell the participants that Scouts are supposed to spend most of their time in the patrol context, not in a troop setting. No time for patrol activities = no time for Boy Scouting.

    And in a program with the Outdoor Method, where is the .training beyond “Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills”? To bad it turned out to be either leadership or outdoor program instead of both/and.

  7. According to a notice posted on June 24, 2016, EVERYTHING is now accessible from my.scouting.org. Everything that was on the old site (myscouting.org) is now accessible from the new site by clicking on the “Legacy Web Tools” link on the left side (after logging in).

    So now there is only ONE address you need to know – my.scouting.org (notice there is NO “www”). Just type in my.scouting.org and you’ll go to the correct site!

    Paul Yelk
    Council Training Registrar
    Inland Northwest Council
    Spokane WA
    “Once a Fox, always a Fox”

    • Thx for that Paul, good to know! How’s the ‘UNofficial Guide to the BSA Learn Center going?
      I’m hoping to come up with a New Parent 101 aka Idiots Guide to Troop 722 and what’s this Adult Leader thing you speak of???

      • What “Adult Leader thing”? Not sure what you are talking about.

        I’m getting closer to finishing updating my “Unofficial Guide to the BSA Learning Center” now that they have added online training for Sea Scouts plus some Commissioner Tools. Note the Commissioner Tools online modules are NOT required for any type of Commissioner training. They are available to assist Commissioners in using the Commissioner Tools.

        Paul Yelk
        Council Training Registrar
        Inland Northwest Council
        Spokane WA
        “Once a Fox, always a Fox”

  8. Very confusing and freezes up. I realize some of the modules are only 5 minutes long but a new leader is going to feak out when they see all the modules they need to take. This is not even close to what modern training should be. BSA is still in the rotary dial phone mentality. They keep making good it look nice but a pretty rotary dial phone is still a rotary dial phone

  9. However, in a nod to the 19th century, you can’t do these trainings.GS on phones or tablets. Fire up your Commodore 64 so you can keep up with BSA technology.

  10. We need to get the Merit Badge Training online ASAP. There are way too many councils who are throwing “Additional” items into the mix and it is making the program a confluence of mix-matched training.

    One person just came in from West Virginia who had MBC training there (D76) and our Council said “No Good – you have to do it here.” So off he went – the fella came back and said that the two training were diametrically opposed, and the fella actually went to the Guide to Advancement to verify and found the new training did not jive with the G2A.

    If it is online – then that takes care of the spotty different versions of training that is put into place by councils that are given free reign.

    Not to say that it is bad – if you go to Scoutmaster Specific, they will highlight what is important for that Council there, while in another council they will highlight something else that is important to them. Training needs to be the same across the board.

    I cheer the online versions, as it takes much of the opine out of the mix and presents the minimum needed. The rest needs to be done at Roundtables.

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