Scouting magazine

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.

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.


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.


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.