Kudos to Bill Vokac K9BV, who offered this on Facebook today, when the subject of Elmering and licensing came up:
"Passing on the respectful culture of ham radio is at least as important as "getting them licensed"."
Bravo! That sums up my opinion of Ham Crams. I know they are the rage today, but to be honest with all of you, I detest them!
A one or two day session may be enough to pass on the bare bones - but why do you want to pass on only the bare bones? Amateur Radio is more than the sum of its parts. Besides the technical and operational aspects, there's a rich history to pass on. There's also so much that the teachers can pass on of their own experience, so that the students don't make the same mistakes the teachers made when they were "wet behind the ears".
You can't do any of that in one or two eight hour sessions. That's NOT Elmering and it's not responsible teaching. Then we wonder why so many newly licensed Techs are losing interest? Why would they stay licensed when no one has taken the time to impress upon them the "magic" of our service/hobby?
Let me add something...... as I don't mean to demean Ham Cram study aides. Sites like W1UL's site are wonderful and he has a proven track record. If you want to go that way - fine, more power to you. I think Ham Cram study guides, such as Urb's are a wonderful resources for those who are genuinely dedicated to getting their license via a self study program, or a traditional class program.
But if you're going to get involved with teaching in a Ham Cram type session ..... make sure the participants do their due diligence and actually read the material and study before doing a one or two day session. My experience has shown that if they're not really serious about getting a license, the results are just going to be disastrous.
I've had a much greater success rate with traditional style Amateur Radio licensing classes. In addition to getting across the needed exam material, you also get the opportunity to get the "flavor" of Amateur Radio across to the students and actually get them even more eager and excited about getting on the air. Additionally, in my mind, the commitment required by attending a multi session class speaks volumes about the intent and desire of the students.
Lastly - the process can't end with a newbie Ham walking away with a CSCE. They have to be cultivated into the Amateur Radio community. You have to get them involved in a club and activities where they can ask questions, bounce ideas off people, see equipment before they buy it, etc. Keep in touch with them before, during and after the licensing process - this way, they're no longer students, but also life long friends.
Of course, this is all my humble opinion and YMMV.
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!