Using e-learning for Technology and Healthcare Education
Our registrations exceeded our wildest expectations, with our numbers almost three times greater than our best attended live sessions. A principle in the world’s largest elearning company at the time hosted our first meeting, and one of our registrants contacted us directly to tell us she was the inventor of elearning back in the 1970s for the government. Double whew!
Fast forward a few years to today. One of my clients asked me to join them on a call to take a look at Articulate’s latest offering, Storyline. Wow, what a difference a few years makes. With html5, the limitations of needing a flash designer to create collar-grabbing visuals are gone, and interesting, fun, and interactive concepts can be developed even by instructional designers like me -who started as writers, not graphic designers or programmers!
Elearning makes sense economically and logistically
It is the cheapest way to get a clear, consistent message to the most people in the least amount of time. For those of us working with clients in IT or healthcare, what better way to educate workers on the use of technology than to use technology to do the job? We’ve been using elearning to train workers across all industries in some skills, particularly manufacturing line workers in processes or transactional workers in soft skills. But this trend is accelerating and spreading beyond line workers and manufacturing workers on the floor, and now reaches to the upper echelons of the corporate hierarchy.
Today, we are using many elearning modalities to educate, inform and transform at all levels of the organization – webinars, online courses, videos, e-modules, pdfs, list servs – the list goes on and on and on. Any type of computer-based learning from your laptop, your iPad or your smart phone, anything you can grab from the web, download, participate in virtually, log onto or phone into, is elearning. As one particular case in point, healthcare workers in all phases of the industry from surgeons to receptionists are being asked to change their work processes to seamlessly incorporate the use of information technology to provide better patient care. It only makes sense that one of the ways to migrate these workers to the effective use of technology is to also educate them using those same tools.
Two quick stories – the bad and the good
Recently, I helped a mortgage company develop training for all their employees and clients on a new software package that was being rolled out to all phases of the business. The employees were very resistant to working with the technology for training. The culture was one of “we’ve always done it this way.” The result was exactly what you’d expect – the employees held embarrassingly poor web-based training and the actual software rollout was poorly executed. Their customers were aggravated that they were wasting their time and money in poorly executed online training sessions Without leadership setting an example and requiring familiarity and facility with the technology, the whole training process was stunted by employees who wanted to do it the old way, and weren’t being required to integrate and accept the technology that would make the business work.
Then there are the success stories. I wrote an article nearly three years ago for eLearning Guild’s emagazine Learning Solutions called “Leveraging the eLearning Advantage in Healthcare.” At the time, I felt like a voice in the wilderness. Now, the training market provides this efficient way to meet an acute need for knowledge transfer and culture change as the healthcare system moves to fully integrated health systems with patient information online.
To sum up, I’ll channel Marshall McLuhan: when training in technology, let the medium be the message.
Peggy Salvatore has been writing elearning and instructor-led training for 12 years, mostly for the pharmaceutical industry. She is a former journalist and wrote extensively on political, government and health policy issues. She is currently spending most of her time recently writing instructor-led training, and always looking for those opportunities to integrate a blended approach to maximize the number and reach of learning opportunities for learners.
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Christopher holds an MBA, and an M.Ed. (Learning Design) from BGSU and currently works as project manager at http://www.learn-e-pedia.gr S.A. (Antenna Group of Companies), which is the largest interactive learning platform from Greek-speaking students and learners across the Globe.Website: www.elearningindustry.com