Healthcare organizations spend millions on training community health worker staff online, and, frankly, much of that is wasted. The reason is that too many administrators wrongly assume that by simply rolling out a program, it will be successful.
Below are some bad habits I’ve seen many times in health worker training programs, and some suggestions for making your computer-based staff training more effective.
Focus on fundamentals.
One bad habit is habitually offering training that is too advanced. A small challenge can be a motivator, but material that is too advanced will make employees disengage. The fix is to focus first on fundamental skills (e.g., documentation skills, communication techniques) before moving on. Make sure your whole team follows the same basics–even if it seems elementary to some–and establish a baseline. Then build from there depending on your organizational function.
Learning doesn’t stop when you put down your reading material, so why should teaching? Rather than making employee training a one-time event or something that happens only once a year, keep teaching when your health workers are out in the field. Reinforce skills training outside of the classroom and on the job. This is a good opportunity for blended learning, in which you can employ a coach to help reinforce skills picked up in the online course on the job.
Focus on goals.
Education that doesn’t meet your organizational goals is a sure sign for failure. Your CHWs won’t understand why they’re taking it, and it won’t support your overall mission. Yet, many companies simply subscribe to online courses because they’re easy. Tie training into goals, and administrators, stakeholders, the organization and employees will benefit.
Here’s some help on being systematic about setting goals.
So often online training is so frightfully boring that employees will do anything to avoid it–including checking email while logged in, making calls, or whatever they can do to just get through a requirement. If you’ve made your training relevant (see below), that helps with engagement, but so do carrots. Dangle certificates, prizes or contests to increase motivation.
Make it relevant.
If learners can’t see themselves and the people they work with in a course, they’ll lose interest quickly, and the course won’t click. Customize your training to situations and your employee demographic. People perform better when they can relate to the information.
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