Originally posted February 23, 2020
One of the things that we do at ERT is take classes. We take classes all over the country, to learn new things and new ways to present information. When we take these classes, we go incognito (not revealing that we teach the same class). We want the full student experience. This weekend, I took a more local class and learned some things.
Honestly, the biggest lesson I learned is that you pay for the name brand, and that does not always means a higher quality. The class I took was $45 more expensive for the same class we offer and we were given a trifold with first aid as our take-away (not the waterproof field guide that we give). It was presented in conjunction with a couple of well known names in the outdoors.
I have to admit that I enjoyed the instructors. They were entertaining and had both lots of backcountry and some medical experience. Neither instructor was from this area, so they did not have local knowledge.
The class had 30 students and two instructors. With such a large class, the instructors did not know any of the students by name or what they were looking to get from the class. They were not able to watch over the students doing their patient assessments or other skills. We did many mini scenarios (which I really liked), but since the students were not being corrected on their mistakes, they just repeated them over and over. At ERT, we pride ourselves on small classes (no more then 12 students per class with two instructors). We start to get to know our students right off the bat. We want to know what you do in the outdoors so we can make sure you get what you need from the class. We eat lunch (and dinner) with our students and swap stories.
I really felt that there was a big lack of information in this class. I know that our students like the hands-on practicals the most, but knowing what you are looking for and why is just as important. I am excited that after taking this class, we think we have figured out a better balance of information and practical skills. I feel that if we put the students from this class into our final scenario, it would not go well at all. There was just so much information missing that they would struggle.
We like to introduce many different first aid supplies in our classes and have them available for practice. Actually performing the skills will help to set them in your mind and help develop muscle memory. Slapping hands together and saying that they have gloves on is not the same things as actually wearing gloves, or seeing someone bandage a hand is not the same things as doing the badging yourself. For splinting, the only thing that was provided was two cravats and a closed cell foam pad.
We are looking forward to using the pros and cons from this class to help make our class better. We will be cutting out some of the lecture and hopefully adding some more mini scenarios. Don’t worry , we will definitely be keeping our final scenario. We will always make sure that our class is a good experience for our students.