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Eve is Hard
Open University is a training corp, but despite the name, our curriculum isn't quite broad enough to really think of ourselves as a New Eden college for PvP. Our corporate focus is a just small part of the diverse selection of things to do in New Eden. But the OUCH model is in line with the curriculum of a trade school, where completion of the course certifies to do a specific thing. In our case, a student joins us, takes our classes, buys their tools, gets some practical experience and obtains certification that they are proficient in null survival and basic PvP.

The short term student uses OUCH like you would take a Drivers, Boating or Hunting Safety Course. A dozen hours of classroom training, another dozen or so hours camping with a fleet and a 5 hour practical exam. Typically, pilots complete the course in 2 months, but a pilot with a flexible schedule can meet all requirements in 2 to 4 weeks.

It's ironic, however, that most pilots don't complete the course at all. Students quit because they don't like OUCH regulations which restrict their choices on what they can fly, they don't want to wait for classes or their life schedules don't coincide with the online course schedules. And students get expelled because they don't follow pilot regulations, or fail to meet training goals set for them.

50 percent of pilots who join OUCH never make it to a class because they never register on the OUCH forums to complete registration. Of the 50 percent that do register, only 15 percent complete the course. That's about 7 graduates for every 100 pilots.

In other words, OUCH has a 93 percent drop rate. Damn. Eve is Hard.

We know that the course material is not just good, it's excellent. From new pilots with no experience at all, and veteran pilots who normally fly capital ships, every OUCH graduate who has completed the course rates it highly. We've determined that our course is on par with Agony's Basic PvP and PvP Wolfpack courses, with more emphasis on practical exercises for improving individual piloting skills as key to null survival and PvP.

We increased the number of classes that we teach per month from 8 to 16. (We've reduced it back to 8-10 with the summertime slump, since it's beautiful outside and easy to find something to do besides flying internet spaceships.) But the graduation rate remains pretty constant no matter what we do with classes.

So why is completing our program so damn hard?

One answer may be simple: We give it away.

When you pay for your education, you are vested in completing your courses. In order to get what you pay for, you make it to class, write the papers, do the labs and take the exams.

But if you're taking a free class, and you have to choose between the class and something in the here and now that's more fun, the free class is going to get bumped. No matter how well designed and well run the course may be, it's free. Because it's free, it's inherently less valuable than a product that people pay for.

And that is a terrible thing, because every OUCH graduate thinks that our training program has made a huge difference in their game. Every single one thanks us for helping them to become a better pilot. Every single one is proud to be a graduate of the program.

So my advice to the New OUCH Student: Hang in there and finish the course. Believe me, every OUCH graduate will sum up the value of his OUCH education with one word:

Fly Safe or Fly Dangerous, Just Don't Fly Stupid.
Eve Killboard - East US TZ
In the business of maintaining the high cost of implants since 2009.

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