How to choose between a hybrid WFR vs Traditional

Gut-Z Journey offers 2 different wilderness first responder course formats.  One is a traditional 7 or 8 day course.  The other is a hybrid WFR course, giving you 5 days of in person learning.   It can be hard to decide which is the right course for your needs.  Beyond the obvious difference in class time there are a variety of reasons to choose one course over the other.


Is a Hybrid Course right for you?  Let’s explore some of the pros and cons of both course formats.



 Hybrid WFR:

  • Requires 5 days in person
  • 25 Hours of pre-course work time
  • Expect to budget time weekly over the month leading to your course date


Traditional Course:

  • Requires 7 or 8 days in person (8 days allows for shorter days)
  • No time needs to be budgeted prior to course start date
  • There will be homework in the evenings during the course


Hybrid WFR:

Pre-course learning is spaced out over the month leading up to the course

  • Spaced learning (reviewing every few days or week) leads to better retention
  • The actual online material can be paused, re-taken or slowed down to meet learner’s needs
  • Material can be reviewed as many times as needed during the course or for future reference
  • Learning materials are presented in a variety of ways to address different learning styles (auditory, visual and kinesthetic)

Note: This portion of the course does require a computer, access to high quality internet and an ability to navigate basic technology

The in-Person Portion of the Course is fast paced starting day one

  • The expectation is that the pre-course work will allow learners to understand basic medicine and the human body
  • Thus, the in-person portion of the course can move right into hands on application
  • Expect the in-person portion to be >75% hands on practice with some additional learning and review

Traditional Course:

  • Pace and intensity for the course start much slower and gently ramps up
  • Closer to a 50/50 % time split between learning and practice
  • There is slightly more time for drills and hands-on practice
  • There is an ability to spend more time on topics or return to areas of confusion.
  • Less time on a computer, and navigating technology


Note: This requires more consecutive days of focused learning, and can be hard for those who have been out of school for awhile


 Hybrid WFR:

The pre-course work is incredibly effective for long term learning.   This is a great course option for individuals who have a strong internal motivation and self-discipline when it comes to studying.  This hybrid course work is designed to help anyone at any level gain the basic understanding of medicine.  Those who already have a background in medicine have the ability to work through the material at a faster pace.  These individuals may also enjoy the faster pace of learning during the in-person portion of the course.


Of Note:

  • If learners cut corners or do not finish pre-course work their performance during class will be reduced
  • There is not a lot of time to recover from a bad performance in a short course
  • This is not a good format for learners who procrastinate
  • Nor for those who need external accountability to study
  • *You can learn about your motivation style at my blog post HERE



This course is a great option for someone who does not have the flexibility to do spaced learning prior to the course start date.   It’s also a good option for those who respond better to a slower pace of learning during hands on practice.   The additional days of practice can be good for those with very little background in either medicine or remote outdoor experience.  This is a better option for those who need accountability to study and not procrastinate.  It also is a better option for learners who do not have access to the technology for a hybrid course. Especially learners who will be traveling or in the backcountry prior to the course start date.


Of Note:

  • Since all the learning happens during the course time, it’s important to review materials after the course to enhance retention.
  • Homework mostly involves reading
  • Some people’s learning styles would be better met with the variety of online activities in the hybrid course


Hybrid WFR:

  • The reduced days will reduce lodging and food cost during the course
  • The course price is comparable to a traditional course as both provide the same certification


Traditional Course:

  • There will be a slightly higher lodging and food cost associate with the extra days of this course
  • The course price is comparable to a Hybrid courses as both provide the same certification


Both courses require 100% attendance

Now that you can see the benefits of both courses it’s time to decide which one is the right fit for you.  Gut-Z Journey offers a large number of Hybrid courses and the occasional Traditional course.

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