Not Just for Students: Clever Ways that Teachers Can Use Instagram in the Online Classroom

In the previous article, we looked at the benefits of Instagram from the standpoint of students. This article looks at how teachers can use Instagram as a powerful teaching tool in the online classroom. The power of Instagram creates meaningful online interactions between students and teachers, keeping both parties engaged and informed.Instagram and the Online Classroom

For instructors, Instagram makes it easier than ever to post reminders and notable factoids discussed during regular class time hours. Teachers can simply upload pictures of relevant material (such as textbook chapters, learning resources, etc.) to share with their students. Teachers can also post motivational memes and other encouraging photos that will help build solid relationships with students by promoting lighthearted exchanges of everyday information. Additionally, instructors may post review reminders to encourage students to stay on-track with their homework and/or with remembering notable items that might be present on a quiz or test.

In return, students can also provide valuable content for their instructors as part of this positive exchange. For example, students might post subject-specific pictures from their own lives that illustrate concepts explored in class. Additionally, students might provide a sort of “photo essay” for instructors, which is a practical, lighthearted way for instructors to gauge student progress on an infrequent basis. A teacher can post a relevant picture, and the class can post their thoughtful reactions to this picture using certain teacher-specific guidelines.

Of course, when it concerns Instagram and the online classroom (or any classroom for that matter), it is crucial for both teachers and students to remain professional in all of their interactions. It is equally important for instructors to check with higher education administration to fully understand any guidelines regarding acceptable social media activity.

Want to learn more about how teachers can use Instagram in the online classroom? Contact us today.

Which Software is Right for Your E-Learning Course?

Choosing the best software for healthcare instructional design is your first step in designing an e-learning course and one of the most important in the overall process. There are a variety of products on the market, all with different functions and capabilities that may or may not suit your vision for the course.

healthcare instructional designOne of the old standards of e-learning software is Lectora. Now in its eleventh incarnation, Lectora has three different versions: Inspire, Online, and Publisher. All three of these offer templates and wizards to help speed up the process of creation, an extensive clip-art gallery to decorate the slides, test and survey creation, and the ability to publish the course in multiple formats, along with several other features. Inspire, though more expensive, also offers quite a few nifty multimedia features, like Flypaper Flash Creator, screen recorders, and the ability to edit audio and video. In version 11, social media capabilities have also been added to the software, allowing instructors to give their students the capability to like or share elements of the course on Facebook or Twitter; many other similar programs have no such social media components. Lectora is also the leader in accessibility, allowing students to use a screen-reader to access the course.

However, there are other types of e-learning software that are more user-friendly for a first-time creator of an online course. Articulate Storyline is one such course; its display closely resembles Microsoft Powerpoint, a program most users are very familiar with. Storyline offers a broad variety of templates, clip art and characters, and slide triggers in order to personalize your course. Storyline is also one of the best products on the market when it comes to creating branching scenarios. And, unlike Lectora, it doesn’t require a second program in order to use its mobile capabilities. Published content on Storyline can be accessed on PC, Mac, and iOS capable tablets.

However, when it comes to mobile learning perhaps the best choice is Adobe Captivate. This software is the easiest choice for developers creating a course that will be used on multiple platforms, automatically rearranging the layout of the content to fit any device from a desktop computer down to an iPhone. It also allows for mobile gesturing on touchscreen devices– learners can scroll through slides with a swipe of their finger. With a focus on design, it offers beautiful layouts, eye-catching color schemes, and numerous formatting features, and also allows for easy quizzing and even learning games to be included in the course. However, the interface for creating courses is slightly more difficult to navigate than other programs and takes getting used to for a first-time user of the software.

All three of these programs have varying pros, cons, and price points, and it’s very important to carefully weigh your options. Keep in mind your audience; if your course is designed for younger users or those who are constantly on-the-go, a program with strong mobile functionality is imperative, while for a course that aims to guide learners through training scenarios in areas like diagnostics or record-keeping a program that offers branching capabilities will make learning much easier and more fun. The right program can make the difference between a student who sticks with the course and masters the material and one who gives up early on because they just don’t understand.

Whichever software you choose to use in designing your healthcare course, Avidity Medical Design is here to help. If you have any questions about these programs and how we can serve you and your needs, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Applying Healthcare Instructional Design Strategies that Work

If you are responsible for the continuing education of medical professionals, the importance of Healthcare Instructional Design Strategies that Work is clear.  Healthcare workers are busy, and it is often difficult, if not impossible to get a group together during working hours.  How then, do you teach and document new skills, and provide meaningful continuing education?

healthcare instructional designThe answer is to use personalized educational programs, that have been designed just for your needs.  Avidity Medical Design can provide these programs.  If your staff is self directed, and motivated to learn, you can choose mobile programs.   These learning modules can be completed on the employee’s own time.  If your employees don’t want to take their work home with them, choose a traditional program.  This would be completed as a group learning experience. Another option is a combination approach, where part of the module is completed by the individual, and and then a review is done as a group.

Continuing education requirements vary state by state.  Customized course development assures that these requirements will be met.  Staff will stay up to date, and competent.  Nursing Continuing Education Requirement Chart, from the American Nurses Organization, shows the hours required by each state.  Even if your state does not require documented hours, the importance of maintaining competency cannot be stressed enough. Also, nurses are not the only staff that need continuing education. All staff have to remain up to date, and competent.

An article in Propublica.org documents the astounding statistics of errors in United States hospitals.  It is reported that up to 98,000 deaths a year are as result of error.  This number is just from hospitals.  Errors also occur at walk-in clinics, dialysis clinics, ambulatory surgical facilities, etc.  These errors were not intentional, but none the less, lives were lost.  This shows how absolutely necessary it is for healthcare workers to remain competent.

For more information on Healthcare Instructional Design, please Contact Us.

Bloom’s Taxonomy Brings Your Healthcare Training to Life

Course design is all about pedagogy, understanding how we learn best. But it’s not enough just to learn something to know it, students also need to be able to apply it. Unfortunately, so much of medical education relies on rote learning and memorization. Students may not remember how many hours they spent pouring over flashcards before a pre-med anatomy and physiology exam. Likewise, students may not remember everything they were tested on. That’s because the learning they are expected to do doesn’t involve applying that knowledge in a real world healthcare setting (the cadaver lab doesn’t count).

At Avidity Medical Design, we employ Bloom’s Taxonomy in training healthcare learners to bring your education to life. Bloom’s Taxonomy is the pedagogy sine qua non for Bloom's Taxonomy Training Healthcare Learnersholistic, integrative learning. For a simplified understanding of this concept, consider this excerpt from Wikipedia:

Bloom’s taxonomy refers to a classification of the different objectives that educators set for students (learning objectives). It divides educational objectives into three “domains”: cognitiveaffective, and psychomotor (sometimes loosely described as “knowing/head”, “feeling/heart” and “doing/hands” respectively). Within the domains, learning at the higher levels is dependent on having attained prerequisite knowledge and skills at lower levels.[2] A goal of Bloom’s taxonomy is to motivate educators to focus on all three domains, creating a more holistic form of education.[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloom’s_taxonomy)

The idea is to structure learning as simultaneous cognitive assimilation. Using given information, and understanding the intended application, we design our lesson plans to teach intellectual understanding and real-life, physical application at the same time. This approach saves time in the classroom and negates the need for flashcards and hours of homework.

Furthermore, our lesson plans based on Bloom’s Taxonomy are structured to include strategic variables that increase the depth of knowledge on a given topic. Your healthcare learners will be challenged to understand the idea on a cognitive level and to apply that understanding in different settings with different tools. Your students learn key concepts, standard procedures, and effective improvisation techniques all in one lesson.

Today’s healthcare industry is a fast changing environment that demands constant adaptation. Training healthcare learners requires education that can adapt just as fast. At Avidity Medical Design, we are dedicated to ensuring the highest quality education by using the most effective learning tools to produce students who are as detailed as they are innovative. Contact us to learn more about how we can design the most effective and engaging courses to bring your healthcare training to life.

Six Easy Ways to Motivate, Educate, and Stimulate Your Healthcare Students

Let’s face it, it’s easy to start out with good intentions. Healthcare textbooks are designed to educate students on medical and surgical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and medical processes and procedures. The depth and complexity of the material can sometimes keep healthcare students from becoming as motivated as they should be. That’s why it’s important for students to have a healthcare course that incorporates a variety of strategies that help them stay motivated. The teacher also plays an important role because he or she motivates, educates, and stimulates healthcare students. Let’s look at six strategies for motivating healthcare students:

  • State expectations clearly. Starting off on the right foot is the key to maintaining motivation and increasing the likelihood of success in any endeavor. The best way for both teachers and students to start off on the right foot is with a clHealthcare Studentsear list of expectations. The students will be motivated to meet the teacher’s expectations when the students know what the expectations are. Teachers, in turn, will find themselves more motivated knowing that students are on the right path to learning.
  • Incorporate school work into the plan. It is easy to get so caught up in teaching that the work placed on the students after they walk out of the classroom is forgotten about. The teacher can help by weaving in tips on how to do the assignments to keep the students engaged and motivated even after they leave class. This strategy may lighten the load for teachers from the standpoint of grading assignments also.
  • Establish goals for the curriculum. It’s easier for students to stay motivated when the big picture is clear. Instead of just moving from lesson to lesson until the exam, try creating a theme that can set students up for a monthly goal. One goal might be to ask students to demonstrate how the anatomical structure of the arm allows a pitcher to throw a baseball. By the end of the lesson, students are able to accurately describe the parts of the arm, and how these parts work together to facilitate throwing an object, such as a baseball.
  • Encourage rewards. Grade school may be long past, but everyone responds well to rewards. Find fun, creative ways to reward healthcare students both in the physical classroom and online. Celebrate victories when they successfully master tough topics, such as correctly abstracting diagnoses and procedures from a complex medical record.
  • Maintain engagement. Whether teaching online or in the traditional classroom, staying engaged with each student is necessary to create a motivating atmosphere. Stay engaged by incorporating healthcare-related games, crossword puzzles, and other fun ideas into the curriculum.
  • Keep a positive attitude. A positive attitude can make the difference between having lackluster feelings about a course and really being motivated to learn the material. When students aren’t feeling motivated because they are struggling to learn the material, teachers should maintain a positive upbeat attitude and offer positive words of encouragement.

Creative course creation can incorporate a variety of strategies to help students maintain motivation. It might take some simple word changes or sidebars with ideas for motivation in certain areas of the curriculum, but it can be done.

If you need help creating great healthcare lessons that encourage student motivation, send us a message to get started.

Mobile Learning: A Revolution In The Making

The advantages of mobile learning and the steps that can be taken to optimize the mobile learning experience for healthcare students and professionals are boundless. With today’s technology, the opportunity to learn is literally in the palm of a student’s hand. There has never been a time in history when the power of knowledge has been so widely available to the world. Taking advantage of this technological breakthrough has enhanced the learning experience for every profession.

Mobile Learning Is The Future

America is the home of mobile tech and we love it. Here are a few facts that you may find interesting. Did you know that 58% of Americans own a smartphone? Did you know mobile learning avidity medical designthat 42% of Americans own a tablet? This means that the students of the future are increasingly going to demand learning solutions that fit their busy schedules. Why is this so attractive to students and professors alike? Mobile learning allows for convenience, flexibility, engagement and interactivity that is lacking in other instructional settings. The data is clear that mobile learning is the wave of the future.

Optimizing The Mobile Learning Experience

In order to optimize the learning environment for students and professionals, we must change the way we view learning. Learning is a lifelong process that doesn’t have an on and off switch. From the time a student wakes up until the time they rest their heads on their pillows at night, they are learning. Learning is a seamless experience that requires different tools for different situations. Wireless, Mobile, and Ubiquitous Technologies in Education or WMUTE are the tools that can be used to optimize and revolutionize the learning experience. Click here

Design With A Purpose

Our core mission here at Avidity Medical Design is to develop curriculum that is informative, challenging, comprehensive and holistic. Staying up to date on trends in medicine is paramount to success. We design healthcare courses and review each course for technical accuracy. Regardless of the subject matter, we design courses that are engaging, innovative, and that support key learning objectives.

Sheila D. McCray, MS, CCS, CCS-P, is the principal of Avidity Medical Design, an instructional design consulting firm specializing in creating e-learning and blended learning for both the educational and corporate sectors.

Students who complete courses developed by Avidity Medical Design will have the knowledge and confidence needed to optimize work performance and achieve greater job satisfaction. Contact us today about our services and how we can help your students achieve excellence in the field of healthcare.