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.

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!

Keeping Learners Engaged is the Secret to Successful e-Learning

When it comes to e-Learning, the key to success is student engagement. It doesn’t matter how comprehensive a course is. If students aren’t paying attention, they won’t learn and retain the information.

attention to e-learningThe science of “attention” is a hot topic in neuroscience and psychology. Attention refers to the brain’s ability to filter input and focus on what’s most important. Even with strong students, attention is never a steady state. According to a Harvard study, 46.9 percent of the time people are thinking about something other than what they’re doing.

The implications of this for e-Learning are enormous. Knowing that students’ minds wander much of the time, it’s essential to design courses that are highly engaging and reinforce material over and over again. Research indicates that certain factors increase engagement substantially. Here are just a few of the elements that trigger attention:

  • Personalized, relevant content
  • Simple, concise presentation
  • Emotionally evocative information
  • Use of high contrast in graphics
  • Element of surprise, so the presentation doesn’t become predictable

This is exactly the approach Avidity Medical Design takes in designing our healthcare courses. We combine subject matter expertise with a deep understanding of instructional design, so that every course excels in both content and presentation.

Avidity Medical Design ensures that students will be motivated to do the coursework and have a high level of understanding and retention. We design curriculum for all areas of healthcare, including health information management, billing, coding, transcription, electronic medical records, healthcare statistics, healthcare administration, and dentistry.

To find out how Avidity Medical Design can help you engage your students with e-Learning, please contact us.

How to Increase Enrollment for e-Learning

e-learningDuring the e-Learning enrollment time of year, which happens to be starting around now, you’re probably wondering what the best plan is for making students want to enroll. How do you give them what they want? How to you get what you want? Here are some helpful tips that can effectively increase your enrollments.

Draw attention to your school by recommending it to all the students you know. Encourage them to tell others about your school too. Show what you offer, and explain how great of a deal it is, all without seeming too proud or forceful.

Many students are looking for the school that’s going to benefit them immensely, but aren’t entirely sure where exactly to look. Help out by giving yours as a suggestion. Try putting a link on your social media sites, personal as well as staff supported. Encourage anyone who likes what they see to share the link with all their friends and followers.

When you have students start flowing in, try leaving an option on the enrollment page for the student to post to Facebook or Twitter that the just enrolled in the school. This also will help get them going with showing off your school to their friends.

Try using social media to your advantage and the students advantage. For instance, try offering contests on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Whoever reposts, retweets, or shares your new class list is automatically entered into a drawing to win two free movie tickets. Something as simple as that can help you to gain students. It gives them the option of seeing how in tune your school is with their daily desires.

Another great way to use social media is to award a random prize of $100 when your school reaches so many Facebook likes or shares.

All of this is important, but remember to never give up on cultivating your school. It doesn’t have to ever be perfect, but it would be nice to get close.

For more valuable information, please feel free to contact us. Thank you!!

Bringing the Online Classroom to Life

The educational system in the United States is changing at all levels, especially at the secondary and post-secondary levels. Some of the changes are due to budget cuts that have hit the educational system especially hard over the past several years.

The U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan stated on April 17, 2013:

Education is more than a set of numbers on the ledger line. Education is not just an expense–it is an investment. In fact, it is one of the most critical investments in the future that we, as a Nation, can make. America cannot win the race for the future without investing in education–it is that simple.

Avidity medical design instructional designerA gifted instructional designer needs to use the right software to develop effective curriculum regardless of budget cuts that may change the shape of the educational landscape. Furthermore, the curriculum must allow students to immediately transfer what they learn in the classroom to the real world environment. Avidity Medical Design uses Adobe Captivate, Lectora, Camtasia, and other e-Learning platforms to develop curriculum that allows learners to immediately use what they learn.

Today’s students have many opportunities for social interaction – opportunities that did not exist 20 or 30 years ago. For these students, online learning is simply an extension of their online social interactions through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks. Just as conversations come alive on Facebook, for example, student learning should come alive in the online classroom. Creative instructional design combines elements of various instructional design models to create a vibrant learning experience that engages students on a variety of different levels and in a variety of different subjects.

Contact us to learn more about how we can bring your curriculum to life, stimulate your learners, and motivate them to learn more about the subjects that you are teaching.