On December 31, the NFHS Learning Center established yet another milestone, delivering its 5,000,000th online education course at the conclusion of its 10th year. It marked the second consecutive year that NFHSlearn.com delivered more than one million courses in a calendar year.
“To have five million courses delivered in 10 years is really a testament to our state associations, administrators, coaches and officials and their efforts in bettering the high school experience for future generations,” said Dan Schuster, NFHS Director of Educational Services.
When the NFHS launched its Coach Education Program in 2007, its purpose was to promote learning among interscholastic coaches and educate them as to their roles in an education-based setting, while keeping costs minimal to the users. The program began as a portal for coaches and has grown to cover more high school constituents – administrators, officials, performing arts directors/judges, parents and students.
Currently, 49 courses are available through the NFHS Learning Center at www.NFHSLearn.com, including 22 that are available free of charge. In addition to 17 sport-specific courses for coaches, three sport-specific officiating courses have been released (volleyball, basketball, softball). Four more officiating courses – baseball, football, soccer, swimming & diving – are expected to be released this summer in time for the 2017-18 school year. Courses have also been developed for music directors and adjudicators, and courses for speech and debate coaches are being planned as well.
In addition to the two core courses – Fundamentals of Coaching and First Aid, Health and Safety – the most popular free course has been Concussion in Sports with more than 3 million courses delivered since its launch in 2010. There are currently five free courses that pertain to student-athlete health – Concussion for Students, Concussion in Sports, Heat Illness Prevention, Sports Nutrition and Sudden Cardiac Arrest. These courses can help coaches, parents and officials recognize signs and symptoms of various health issues that can arise during an athletic competition and potentially save a life.
The courses have also proven to be effective. The NFHS has teamed up with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to examine the reach and knowledge gained from individuals completing the Concussion in Sports course. This study indicated that the course has been successful in educating users. Individuals taking the course are administered a pre- and post-test to evaluate how it changes their understanding and the proper methods of recognizing and responding to a potential concussion. The results showed that the percentage of respondents answering all questions correctly went up from 21 percent on the pre-test, to 60 percent on the post-test.
In addition, the NFHS is in the process of updating the Fundamentals of Coaching course to include current information, proper language and a new style. Every three to five years, the NFHS updates the core courses to ensure they are relevant to the user and reflect any new rules changes.
“The support and participation of state associations have made the NFHS Learning Center a successful program,” Schuster said. “Every state is actively involved in educating their administrators, coaches, officials, parents and students.”
“The continued growth of the NFHS Learning Center is an indication of the tremendous values of these courses to leaders in our high school activity programs across the country,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “This has been one of the most successful ventures in our 97-year history, and we will continue to develop courses to meet the needs of everyone involved in education-based activity programs.”
Bryce Woodall is an intern in the NFHS Publications/Communications Department. He is a senior at Franklin (Indiana) College studying public relations.