One of the changes to the ADAPT program in this its second year is the addition of a pre-course. As Dotty, our student advisor, explained to me, some students had trouble last year getting up to speed with the the platform, so the pre-course was designed for the technologically challenged to be able to hit the ground running on June 15th.
I signed up on April 2nd, a week after the enrollment period opened, which has allowed me to spend plenty of time with the pre-course material. I’ve found it valuable in multiple ways. In today’s journal entry, I’ll do a quick unpacking for you.
The ADAPT platform is pretty basic. The starting page is a dashboard with links to an announcement page, a community forum, a calendar, and course content. There’s also a pulldown menu with bios for the faculty — course instructors, mentor coaches, and teaching assistants (an impressive assembly).
For anyone familiar with such platforms, it’s easy enough to use. There’s a little learning involved in using the calendar to book appointments. And some figuring out of all the forum functions. But it’s far from rocket science.
Aside from announcements, most of the activity in the forum has been students introducing themselves in the Community Connections section. The student body is looking to be quite international, with students checking in from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, Singapore (which is where I will be based for most of the course), Central and South America, as well as from all over the US and Canada. There’s even a student from Zimbabwe.
Three types of webinars are available as part of the pre-course curriculum. They are scheduled at various times throughout the week and are as follows: Course Introduction, Meet the Faculty, and Course Success Roundtable.
The Course Introduction is conducted by Dotty Foley, the student advisor, and is 45 minutes long. Dotty basically conducts a walkthrough of the platform technology, gives an overview of the course in general — how the curriculum will be rolled out and what the participation requirements will be — then answers questions. I’ve attended three of them already and have learned something new from each one.
I was surprised upon attending my first Meet the Faculty webinar that the faculty are not actually present at these. The webinars are instead conducted by one of the enrollment advisors and consist of said advisor going over each faculty member’s bio and discussing their personal experience working with them. The enrollment advisors, by the way, have themselves been hired from the pool of students in the first ADAPT cohort, so they are quite familiar with the faculty.
I’ve only been able to attend one of the Student Success Roundtable webinars. It was facilitated by Dotty and consisted of a group conversation with the enrollment advisors on how to maximize the ADAPT learning opportunity. As stated, all of the enrollment advisors are current students in the first cohort and have interesting things to say about their experiences as they near graduation.
Aside from their content, I’ve found the webinars useful in two very practical ways. The first is that they are a good introduction to the Zoom platform, which will be used for all group activities throughout the course. And second, the mere fact that they are available has helped me get comfortable using the calendar and booking system.
As my situation is more challenging than students based in the Americas — I’m starting the course on the island of Mauritius and will then be based in Singapore from July 25th onward — booking pre-course webinars has given me a taste of what it’s going to be like working with the time zone differences.
Content is the meat of the pre-course and mostly serves to introduce the learning methodologies, course design, and curriculum outline. It’s organized according to the three ADAPT program tracks — Art & Practice of Coaching, Functional Health, and Professional Development. There are also homework assignments and links to study-related resources. They say that the pre-course takes approximately 20 hours to complete, but I’ve gotten a lot more mileage out of it than that.
With rare exception, the pre-course content is presented as short videos, with options to download the audio by itself or the video transcript for each module. Aside from live mentor sessions and interactive presentations, this is how the bulk of the course content will be delivered — in small digestible modules that can be watched, listened to, and/or read.
One thing I’ve discovered is that I digest the material best when I watch a video and read along with the transcript at the same time. Something about reading along as I watch/listen makes my attention less likely to wander.
While the pre-course work is entirely optional, I’ve certainly appreciated having it on hand. It’s given me something to do while waiting for the starting gun. And it’s helped to get me into study mode. In a way, it feels as if the course has already begun.
What I’ve Learned
Prior to launching his ADAPT Practitioner Training Program in 2016, Chris Kresser did a deep dive into learning theory. The principles he applied to that program also inform the ADAPT Health Coaching curriculum.
Emphasis is placed on experiential learning. As knowledge in coaching theory is acquired, it’s immediately put into practice via group mentor coaching sessions, peer-to-peer coaching, and, later, in practice sessions with actual clients. In the same vein, functional medicine principles are directly applied to case studies and action steps. Weekly quizzes are administered as a means of improving retention of new knowledge.
Kresser likes to use a “firehose” analogy to describe the conventional learning strategy of cramming in massive amounts of information into a short learning period — have you ever tried drinking from a firehose? The ADAPT program takes the opposite approach, rolling content out weekly, in easily-integrated, bite-sized chunks.
The curriculum is divided into two parts — a pre-practicum and a practicum. During the pre-practicum, coaching theory and functional medicine principles are taught and practiced. During the practicum, the emphasis is on coaching practice and professional development. The coaching track seems to be the pacesetter of the course.
Before getting access to the pre-course, I was concerned that there might be too much emphasis on the Art & Practice of Coaching at the expense of the Functional Health track. After watching Kresser’s introductory video on the subject, my fears have been put to rest. It looks like the Functional Health track goes in depth. We’re even going to learn how to read and analyze lab results.
Most of what I’ve learned from the pre-course I’d already discovered on my own while doing my due diligence over the past year. But the pre-course has put things in closer focus. I’m more certain now about what lies ahead.
There’s some nice bonus content available through the pre-course, not necessarily specific to the ADAPT curriculum, all digital programs, some of which you may familiar with if you’ve been following Chris Kresser for a while. They are: 14Four, Healthy Baby Code, High Cholesterol Action Plan, and From Busy to Balanced.
I’ve found From Busy to Balanced to be quite useful. I’ll write about that in my next journal entry.