By Clyde Ogg
Nebraska Extension's newly revamped, online private applicator training program now is open for business.
It is an alternative to attending a Pesticide Safety Education Program training session or, for the past year, using a self-study with printed materials. The cost is $75, plus a $25 licensing fee charged by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.
The online PSEP curriculum is one option for first-time or recertifying private applicators of restricted use pesticides (RUPs) to receive training to become licensed by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. NDA licensing is required for applicators to legally buy or apply RUPs.
Another private training option includes attending one of about 200 sessions statewide.
The new streamlined online curriculum has many advantages for private applicators of RUPs. It includes a complete update of 10 modules, each with its own set of topics. Some have short, close-captioned videos and supporting materials such as publications or exercises and an assessment test bank. Most topics are fewer than two pages long and, to promote better comprehension, only have one to three learning objectives.
Being able to understand the learning objectives is key to passing the state-approved exam. The test bank of questions was reworked to ensure the questions align with the new instructional design.
To show mastery of each topic, one must correctly answer three assessment questions. Missing one or more questions means the user is directed to review the topic before again trying the assessment. This allows the user to focus on topics they need to better understand.
PSEP authors of the new curriculum are Jan Hygnstrom, project manager, and Robert Harrison, web programmer. The pair spent hundreds of hours collecting, developing and updating content conducive to adult learning and to revise the assessment process.
Available at psep.education/applicator/, the new curriculum was two years in the making. It replaces a more time-consuming system developed in 2012. The new curriculum has a smoother and shorter workflow. For example, if a user needs to retake one topic, he or she only must retake that piece of the module. Previously, the user had to restart the entire module.
Many of the approximately 100 topics in the new curriculum include color photographs and art. Multimedia presentations and exercises complement and enhance the content that supports the learning objectives.
As a new feature, if users feel they already understand the topic or the entire module, they can take the assessment without reading the material.
Users can set up an account on the website and pay the $75 fee by credit card. NDA licensing costs another $25 for private applicators.
Separate training is required to use products with paraquat and the three soybean pesticides with dicamba ― XtendiMax, FeXapan and Engenia ― as they now are registered as RUPs. For information about free training on both dicamba and paraquat, see pested.unl.edu/certification-and-training#dicamba and pested.unl.edu/certification-and-training#paraquat.
For information on pesticide safety, visit pested.unl.edu.
Ogg is a Nebraska Extension Pesticide Safety Educator.
This report comes from UNL CropWatch.