AIARE 1 Hybrid Course Sample Outline

AIARE 1 Goals

The goal of an AIARE 1 is for students to be able to use The AIARE Framework to manage their risk in avalanche terrain. 

In plain language this means they can identify potential avalanche hazards, create a plan for where to go in response to the hazard (PLAN), are able to manage hazards when outside (RIDE), and can learn from their experiences (DEBRIEF).

We want you to keep this big picture in mind when designing your courses for next season and in determining what students will learn on their own and what you will need to review and teach synchronously – whether that is in a classroom, via Zoom, or in the field.

There are a million ways to teach an AIARE course. We work to provide you with all the content you need for as many possibilities we can. Your goal is to ensure that students leave the course able to use a process to manage their risk and continue their learning.

Instruction Modes

We went through all the learning outcomes for an AIARE course and categorized into three types:

    1. Outcomes students can meet on their own with the right resources. For this content, we are creating online learning modules so that students can direct their own learning before and during the course, and have a reference for after the course.
    2. Outcomes best met through instruction from an an expert who can answer questions and speak to local specifics. For this content, we will provide suggestions for virtual or classroom sessions.
    3. Outcomes best met through experiences in the field. For this content, as locally appropriate, you would continue to teach in the field with 1:6 ratios.

What constitutes an AIARE Course?

While there are hours guidelines provided by both A3 and AIARE (24 hour courses with 60% of those hours in the field), they are meant to give you an idea of the scope and design of the course. The goal of the course is not the hours, but the learning outcomes. The goal of the AIARE 1 is for students to be able to use The AIARE Framework to manage their risk in avalanche terrain and continue their learning. 

Keep this guidance and the goal in mind when designing a learning experience (in person or online) for your students next season.

What you will need to do to prepare for the 2020-21 season

As always, AIARE provides curriculum and content to support you delivering high quality avalanche courses. The success of these courses depends on you, the Providers and Instructors (otherwise everything would just be online and non one would need a teacher!). As always, you need to take our curriculum and content and create agendas and an instructional plan that works for the specifics of your venue and staff.

Unless you are making no changes to your courses next year, you will need to adapt your classroom sessions to an online learning environment. We don’t recommend simply holding your classroom sessions as you normally would but via a video conference. If you haven’t experienced 8 hours on Zoom yet, take it from our experience that it is soul crushing.

Keeping it simple, you could use the website for 4(ish) hours of student self-paced learning coupled with 4(ish) hours of video conference classroom instruction. But we also organized the website so that you could also use it to supplement your own online learning curriculum you have developed or as a supplement to a more “typical” classroom session that might be held virtually over 4 or 5 sessions.

Whatever you end up doing, there will be additional planning time required this year to refine agendas and prepare your instructional sessions that will happen via Zoom. We are planning several webinars to help out with using Zoom, Google Classroom, presenting online, and facilitate sharing of ideas among Providers and Instructors for operations during a global pandemic.

Sample Outline

The following is a sample outline of an AIARE 1 hybrid course.

Pre-course setup and communications

      • Introduction Email: Who you (instructors) are. What to expect online, in a virtual classroom (be ready to be on video), in person (including your pandemic risk management protocols). Who to contact with operational or content questions. How long should they expect to wait for a response. What do they need to bring to their first class session (questions? A completed worksheet? Pass a quiz?)
      • Give them homework – in addition to completing the short quizzes online and figuring out anything you’re muddy on, write down areas you are confused or have questions. Revisit those pages the night before the course, see if you’ve figured anything out or if your thinking has changed. Then bring your questions to class.
      • Depending on timing, follow up with a couple of reminders emails of all the previous information. Consider some generic learning prompts (what’s the danger rating today? What’s the avalanche problem? How do you think all this snow we’ve been getting is affecting conditions?)  

Module 1: Self-paced instruction online

See the AIARE 1 Online Outline for more details and learning outcomes covered by each webpage.

      • Introduction
      • The AIARE Framework
      • TEAMWORK
      • PLAN
        • Assemble Your Group
        • Anticipate the Hazard
        • Plan where to go
        • Discuss Your Emergency Plan
      • RIDE
        • Departure Check
        • Monitor Conditions
        • Check In With The Group
        • Recognize Avalanche Terrain
        • Choose Terrain
        • Repeat as a TEAM
      • DEBRIEF

Module 2: Zoom Session 1

You will need to organize your own content to meet the needs of your audience, method of delivery, and venue. These talking points are based on current lesson plans and powerpoints.

      • Introductions: Introduce instructors, the group to each other, what you are going to cover this session and what future sessions online, in the field and via Zoom look like.
      • The AIARE Framework: Your spiel on why pre-trip hazard assessment is important, perhaps a case study or personal anecdote.
      • Review: Answer questions about the AIARE Framework (from the online learning). If the group is large, consider breaking into smaller groups facilitated by an Instructor. Make sure the group reports back any major lessons learned or “ah has” to the larger group.
      • Avalanche Terrain: Terrain is the tool you use to manage the hazard. Identify local areas that are frequented by backcountry travelers and discuss participant’s perceptions of those areas regarding avalanche likelihood, consequences, and factors that contribute to avalanche events.
      • Assemble Your Group (see Lesson 2.2 in the AIARE 1 lesson plans) They will have been introduced to the concept of human factors and uncertainty online. Connect the makeup of the group and their partner choices to terrain choice.
      • Anticipate the Hazard: Answer questions about the forecast and anticipating hazard due to weather or avalanches prior to going out.
      • Plan the route: Use a scenario to use current conditions, a fictional group, and the course area to choose where to go. Walk them through how to assess their plan – ID paths, hazards, check in points, alternatives etc.

Module 3: Self-directed learning part 2

See the AIARE 1 Online Outline for more details and learning outcomes covered by each webpage 

      • PREPARE: What do I do year round to be a prepared backcountry traveler?
      • Track the Seasons Conditions: How do I keep track of the snowpack throughout the season?
      • The Dynamic Mountain Snowpack: What is a snowpack? 
      • How the Snowpack Changes Over Time: How does a snowpack change over time?
      • Investigate Trip Options: How to ensure you always have a trip option to match the conditions.
      • Avalanche Prone Slopes: How to identify avalanche terrain from photos and maps.
      • Terrain Influence on Snowpack: How does the terrain influence the snowpack?
      • Practice  Avalanche Rescue (Link to rescue website)
      • Continue Your Avalanche Education: What is your next step?

Module 4: Zoom Session 2

Send any map resources (PDFs, links etc) to students before this session.

      • Review: Answer questions about the AIARE Framework (from the online learning). If the group is large, consider breaking into smaller groups facilitated by an Instructor. Make sure the group reports back any major lessons learned or “ah has” to the larger group.
      • Current Conditions and Hazard: Broadly summarize the seasonal snowpack using information from avalanche advisories and local experts. What do they expect to find outside?
      • Keeping track of conditions on their own: Summarize a process students can repeat using local resources to keep track of conditions throughout the season.
      • Plan where to go the next day: Break into small groups facilitated by an Instructor to use The AIARE Framework to plan the group’s travel the next day (or in a few days).
      • Building a trip options catalog: Summarize a process students can use to keep track of trip options – maps, notes, pictures etc. Give them an activity building on the course area map to start one of their own.

Modules 5 and 6: Field sessions

    • Rescue: Demonstrate and practice rescue
    • Outdoor snowpack lectures: Connecting the forecast to the physical snowpack. Making relevant weather and snow observations.
    • Practice using the Ride Safely Checklists
    • Course Close: At the end of the day, at the parking lot or via Zoom.