Since its launch in January 2007, the NFHS Learning Center (www.NFHSLearn.com) has strived to make the NFHS the national leader in interscholastic education.
In that time, NFHSLearn has mainly been geared toward high school coaches, offering 16 sport-specific coaching courses as part of its National Certification Program. Individuals can become an Accredited Interscholastic Coach or a Certified Interscholastic Coach at www.NFHSLearn.com.
However, the Learning Center also offers many other courses that can be taken by students, parents, administrators and officials, several of which are free such as “Concussion in Sports” and the newly released “Sudden Cardiac Arrest.”
This year, in an effort to improve the educational experience for a broader audience, NFHSLearn has launched several new courses, including the first-ever course designed specifically for officials.
The new course, “Interscholastic Officiating,” is available for free to full members of the NFHS Officials Association, and covers the introductory skills and concepts required of officials in all sports.
“Up to this point, NFHSLearn has been a coach-driven website. With these new developments, we are hoping to truly become the learning center for all constituents,” said Dan Schuster, director of coach education at NFHS.
New courses have also been launched for student team captains and music adjudicators, providing more useful resources for both students and educators.
The “Captains Course” was first developed by the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) and the Michigan State University’s Institute for the Study of Youth Sports. The free course is now available on the national level to any student-athlete who wishes to learn more about the skills necessary for leadership on the field, in the classroom and in the community. Hosted by fellow student-athletes, the 10 chapters that make up the course cover fundamental leadership topics such as communication, motivation and team building.
“We’re excited to have a course engineered toward bettering the student experience,” Schuster said. “It’s important that all students, and especially those who lead, are taught the values and lessons that are inherent in the participation in education-based athletics.”
For coaches, the NFHS has developed an additional course in coordination with USA Football in order to further educate high school football coaches and minimize risk to student-athletes. “High School Heads Up Football” covers important aspects of player safety such as proper techniques for tackling and blocking, and using properly fitted helmets and shoulder pads.
The course is one of four required for a coach to become Heads Up certified with USA Football. The other three courses – “Heat Illness Prevention,” “Concussion in Sport” and “Sudden Cardiac Arrest” – can all be taken for free through NFHSLearn.
The site has also been updated to make the Learning Center more user-friendly for all constituents with the addition of portals for coaches, officials, students, parents and administrators alike.
As of August 2015, more than three million courses have been delivered through the NFHS Learning Center.
“The success and growth we’ve had so far has been driven by the NFHS membership and its promotion of professional development for its constituents,” Schuster said. “We believe that we’re just starting to scratch the surface for what the NFHS Learning Center can do to positively impact the interscholastic experience for young people.”
Brandon Jones was a summer intern in the NFHS Publications and Communications Department and is a junior at Indiana University in Bloomington.