Fostering Virtual Community Enriches Healthcare e-Learning

Healthcare e-Learning can be a solitary and sometimes lonely undertaking. Helping students get to know one another, and form a community, can be beneficial during and after the class. Even if students work in the same building, they may not know each other. Taking a course together can be a bonding experience.

For some e-learners it can be particularly motivating to have a group of friends online to share insights and experiences. When the course is over, these relationships can help reinforce what was learned during the course.

Some students study together live, at scheduled times. Others go at their own pace, on their own schedule. Here are ways to build virtual communities, which address the needs of both types of learners.

healthcare e-learning

Virtual community can help make online learning more fun

Virtual Student Lounge — Having a space where people can gather informally, to discuss material or other topics, fosters community. Facebook groups and Google hangouts are popular options, as are online forums. If the technology is available, create a space within the e-learning portal.

Student Profiles — Invite students to create on-line profiles. Encourage them to include hobbies and interests, so students can discover what they share in common. Short videos, posted on YouTube, are a highly engaging ways for students to introduce themselves to the rest of the community.

Planned Group Activities — Give people a reason to gather online, to discuss a particular topic or work on a group project.

Live Activities – When students are online at the same time, there are ways to increase a sense of community. Among them:

Sidebar — Allow comments and questions during part, or all, of the presentation.

Video “Hellos” – Make time during the classes for everyone to turn on their cameras and say hello to each other.

Breakout Spaces – Where appropriate, create opportunities for small groups to gather in video chat rooms to discuss material.

Motivate Self-Paced Learners — Have regular email communication with students, even if these are automatic emails sent when students reach milestones in the course.

Other ways to make students feel they are part of a community are virtual “office hours” with teachers or knowledgeable leaders, and the opportunity to give feedback, either during the course or at the end.

Everyone’s time is limited. E-learners need to feel, first and foremost, that the course they are taking has value and will ultimately benefit their lives. Community activities associated with e-Learning should be well organized and clearly presented, so students feel these are also good uses of their time.

Avidity Medical Design specializes in the design of engaging, e-learning curriculums for health-related topics. We tailor presentations to the specific needs of our educational and corporate clients. To learn more, including ways to build online learning communities for your students, please 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.

Moodle for Medicine: Choosing a Learning Management System for Healthcare Students That Works

One of the most important decisions you can make for your healthcare students is choosing the right learning management system (LMS). Choosing the right LMS is important because it helps students navigate successfully within each course, and it helps professors fulfill the requirements of teaching the course and facilitating ongoing communication with students. There are many different learning management systems on the market today. Some of the most popular LMS platforms include Moodle, Blackboard, Angel, and eCollege. Let’s look at how each of these platforms can be used in the context of healthcare education.

Moodle for medicine

Moodle

Moodle has all the features of a typical learning management system such as assignment submission and online grading. Moodle also has a discussion forum, instant messaging, online calendars, online news and announcements and can facilitate online quizzes. In addition, Moodle users are continually developing third-party plugins that can be used with this LMS. Moodle provides a centralized location for submitting assignments, taking online quizzes, and participating in discussion forums.
Blackboard

Blackboard is an incredibly popular learning management system that has been on the market for years. It offers seven different platforms for its learning management systems that have been adapted for use by K-12 schools, universities and  companies. Blackboard offers your students a tried-and-true learning management system to facilitate their studies.

Angel

Angel offers healthcare students and professors a very clean interface and extensive real world feedback. Angel’s interface is set up to engage busy students. Its opening screen allows student users to quickly check their course guide, see what’s new, look at current activities, track grades and look at their own personal lists of tasks or to do notes for each class. It has a feeling of activity associated with the student user screens. For professors, it offers real world data and feedback on student progress to streamline communication between instructors and students.

eCollege

eCollege is a learning management system that is produced by textbook provider Pearson. eCollege combines a learning management system with streamline access to textbooks. If your school uses Pearson textbooks to support your learning, eCollege integrates ebooks within its learning management system and offers students interactive ways to use their platform.

Which Learning Management System Is For You?

Moodle, Blackboard, Angel and eCollege are all learning management systems with something to offer your healthcare students. Please contact us to further discuss which of these learning management system will work best for your healthcare students. We can help guide you to the best choice for your students. We look forward to helping you.

Three Ways to Use Facebook to Train Healthcare Students

Facebook has become not only a way to find old friends or learn about the weekend’s events, it is also an incredible learning tool, for students of healthcare and countless other topics.  Teachers can utilize Facebook for class projects, for enhancing communication, and for engaging students in a manner that might not be entirely possible in traditional classroom settings.  Be creating a page specifically for the class, managing the privacy settings to exclude outside visitors, and connecting the class blog or online learning homepage to Facebook, healthcare students have a relaxed, inviting atmosphere of learning that encourages How to use facebook to train healthcare studentsparticipation and engagement.

Facebook encourages participation in class projects and class discussions where classroom learning often fails.  Healthcare students could be instructed to follow current news feeds.  There are dozens of pages related to the medical field, updated daily and broken down into sections for relevancy, keeping current information flowing through the class.  With the wealth of information available to healthcare scholars, students can review assigned topics, then post their abstracts on Facebook for other students to read, discuss, and peer-review.  An excellent way to ensure that healthcare students are more engaged in the learning experience—whether in a traditional classroom or at accredited online colleges—is by strengthening the communication between students and student-to-teacher.

Educators can create groups, schedule events, send messages, share multimedia, post class notes, make announcements, and post homework on Facebook, providing direct communication with instructors, facilitating classmate connections, and allowing shy students a way to communicate.  Healthcare students can even practice doctor-patient communication and bedside manner through Facebook messaging and comments.

Facebook for education offers students the opportunity for active communication on a level playing field.  Since students are likely familiar with Facebook already, implementing it into healthcare education and training provides comfortable, easy student access.  Facebook promotes collaboration, teaches personal responsibility, and keeps schools current in many medical and professional fields.

Please contact us to learn more tips on How To Use Facebook to Train Healthcare Students.

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.

Hiring a Healthcare Course Writer vs. Creating Your Own Content

A common scenario in healthcare e-Learning goes something like this: A healthcare organization places a strong emphasis on education. For years they avidity medical design healthcare instructorhone their patient education programs, keep staff up to date with certifications, and develop some basic healthcare courses to provide additional training. They watch a live demo, are empowered by what they see, and they begin to move forward with curriculum development. This is where the problems start.

Becoming a healthcare course writer is not an easy task. Oftentimes people know what they want to say but have no idea how to say it. If they do manage to get the words on paper, they get lost in the world of learning management systems and authoring tools. They also discover that they must function as healthcare subject matter experts as well as healthcare course writers to ensure that the course is technically accurate. Before long, months go by and the project is scrapped.

This scenario underscores the importance of hiring an experienced healthcare instructional designer. Ideas for healthcare education often land in the virtual trash can before they ever reach the storyboard stage of development. This happens because the possibility of outsourcing course development was never considered. A talented healthcare course writer can collaborate on ideas and cultivate those that already exist in order to create a comprehensive course that is technically accurate and gets the job done.

Avidity Medical Design expands healthcare training to reach a broader base of clients. Whether you need help preparing staff for the transition to ICD-10 medical coding, or you need to train nurses on the fundamentals of patient assessments, you can have a visually pleasing course created and uploaded to your learning management system.

If you need help developing an in-depth course that accurately meets the learning objectives for your particular healthcare specialty, contact us. We will work with you to achieve your goals for curriculum development.