There are few in this industry who truly understand curriculum; how to create, manage and administer curriculum. The problem as a consumer is knowing the difference between a well thought out curriculum and someone just making it up as they go along.
The Subject & Audience
What is curriculum? Curriculum is the outline of concepts to be taught to students in order to meet course objectives. It is a comprehensive system of instruction with specific objectives, strategies, content, measurements and resources. Probably the most important element to this system of instruction is the objective. Your entire program hinges on your understanding of two things. The subject and your audience. You have to create a road map that guides the students on their learning journey. If you are not an expert in your field, it will be difficult to create a comprehensive program. If you do not understand your audience you can have the best program, but learning fails to occur because you either overshoot or undershoot your audience.
Entertainment & Education Combined
Most everyone looks at the firearms training industry as entertainment with a little education. I get it, entertainment is an important element to teaching. You have to keep your audience engaged, but they are there to learn. Adults learn differently than children so having a good grasp of adult learning strategies is a must. I find this to be directly tied to the content, the two are symbiotic. Your content is not just the drills you have the students perform. It is the objectives clearly laid out, your lesson plans, evolution briefs and schedules. These all combine to form your program of instruction, but they are of little value if you do not have a means to measure the content.
Their Failures are Yours
I find see a major mistake when instructors do not institute standards. No way of really knowing, other than a subjective feeling whether their students actually learned. Or worse, a cavalier attitude towards the student’s experience. Now, there are many different forms of learning, but practical application is a strong candidate for measuring learning. These standards, must be directly tied to your objectives. Otherwise, you are just making loud noises and bright flashes. Now, here is the hard part. It is all on you. As an instructor the student’s progress is your responsibility for better or worse. If you do not have the ability to adapt to your environment to connect with your students then their failures are yours.
Look, It’s Shiny
The part no one likes to talk about is how most folks don’t really create curriculum. If you were knowledgeable of the subject enough your curriculum will show the depth of your knowledge. While times may change, new delivery methods are created it only makes your ability to connect with your students stronger. If you did a poor job creating your curriculum in the first place then it is easy to see why you need to constantly “adapt”. You are adapting because you failed to create a good curriculum in the beginning. You failed to recognize your own shortcomings in developing curriculum so when something new comes along you are quick to adopt it, discarding the less shiny method previously employed for something more shiny now.
I’m constantly evaluating our curriculum to make sure we are meeting the needs of our audience and they are seeing results. I’m not changing my curriculum, I’m changing how I deliver and connect with students.