July 26, 2013

Education Overload

When I first volunteered to help Noir. Academy, we had just lost the CEO.  I originally only offered to help with recruitment, that is to say I volunteered to interview applicants and post the results.  I didn't feel I had time to do the actual training; the schedule took a lot of work and effort to maintain.  Despite only offering to lend a hand in the most simple of ways, I was soon tapped to become the replacement CEO.  Quite a far cry from bottom rung helper.  That really didn't bother me, though. I had just started this new gig where I was being paid $9/hour to play ARMA 3.  I only did 20 hours a week, which was enough to pay my bills and rent and stuff.  Pretty sweet, right?

So even though I quite unexpectedly found myself in a position to play EVE a lot I was still wary of that schedule that was already in place.  At this point, we had gone through three CEOs.  Nidia Masters was the first, helping get the program running.  He was there for the longest, too.  Next was Cass Dyson.  He was in charge for a little less than a year.  And lastly there was Linetel, who I replaced.  He also was in the CEO position for around a year.  The program had changed a lot since Nidia was the CEO.  It was a one month program back then, the program I went through.  It had evolved, turning into a longer, more in-depth program over the years, which I felt was good.  But like I said, I was wary of the overhead that was required of leadership to keep the program running smoothly.  There was a different event set six days out of every seven that had to be planned, initiated, run, and recorded; there were quizzes that had to be written, graded, and recorded;  there were contracts that had to be planned, coordinated, run, and recorded.  No wonder so many people had burned out before me.

So my first objective was to streamline the entire academy.  I wanted to reduce overhead as much as possible.  I got lucky, and I was surrounded by a lot of great people.  One of our top instructors created a website to help record the small stuff.  Just click a box, leave a note, write a comment.  It was so simple and helpful.  I worked with a Noir. member to create a wiki.  It turned into a great place to keep information that doesn't change often.  Now I've initiated a program to create video tutorials on roles that pilots are required to learn.  If it works as well as we're hoping, then I think that the academy will be in the strongest place it's ever been.

I've always been a big believer in automation.  Not dehumanization, not removing the human element, but making things easier to wield.  So far I think this process has been pretty successful, at least as far as reducing overhead.   I just hope that it's successful in producing quality pilots.