My latest ramblings.
Enjoy! I definitely got important things to say
My latest ramblings.
Enjoy! I definitely got important things to say
Our friends at the 6th Annual Patient Navigator/Community Health Worker Conference have announced the date for the upcoming event (May 7, 2015) and have released a call for submissions for breakout sessions. If you haven’t been to this conference, you should consider going. CHWs and navigators from all around the country come, and it’s quickly emerging as the preeminent event in the field.
Thursday, May 7, 2015
1125 Boston-Providence Highway (Route 1), Norwood, MA
Registration will open in early spring.
In the last few years, we have watched community health workers and patient navigators become a vital part of today’s healthcare system. In this sixth annual conference, we will take time to hear stories from this vibrant workforce. Stories of advocacy, connection and education. Stories that link patients to the healthcare system in a positive way. Stories of perseverance and hope. Come join us this May in Norwood, Massachusetts for this exciting conference designed by and for navigators and community health workers.
The Women’s Health Network, a program of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, provides funding for this conference. Dr. Shreya Kangovi, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School Of Medicine, and the Executive Director of the Penn Center for Community Health Workers will be our keynote speaker. Dr. Kangovi draws her inspiration for beginning the IMPaCT model from growing up in India where she observed lay people going to homes to help underprivileged communities with health care issues. Dr. Kangovi realized the same approach could be applied in underserved communities in the United States.
The conference offers interactive, skills-based learning in a variety of topics through breakout sessions, networking, resources, and poster sessions. So come join us on May 7 to learn, grow, and share your story about patient navigation and community health workers. This conference invitation is extended to patient navigators, community health workers, supervisors and those involved in developing patient navigator programs throughout Massachusetts and other parts of the country.
Call for Presenters
Are you interested in being a presenter at this year’s conference? We are now accepting proposals for breakout sessions. To learn more, read about the program and submission information. Particular attention will be paid to submissions in the following fields: health disparities, insurance, changing outcomes, refugee health, maternal and child health, integration of community health workers and patient navigators into health care teams, working across generations, death and dying and ethical dilemmas. We are particularly interested in presentations that include real world stories and examples. Conference planners will evaluate proposals based on overall quality, relevance to the field, well-defined focus within the program track structure, diversity of program content, practical applications of material, timeliness of the topic and speaker qualifications.
Submission forms are due by Friday, December 5, 2014. We look forward to hearing your idea! For assistance with this process, or if you have any questions, contact Rachel Hammerman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the conference (or to sign up for the mailing list), please visit the Patient Navigator conference website.
Length: 60 minutes
Everyone talks about online learning, but what does it really mean? We’ll cut through the jargon to explain the basics of health-based e-learning, and discuss why offering online courses can help you boost your enrollment numbers. We’ll identify the elements you’ll need to structure your online training program.
Watch this on-demand webinar to learn how to get the whole team on board, what the technology requirements are, and why your learners are probably asking for online module delivery. You’ll walk away with knowledge about online training that will help energize your organization and help you increase participation in your program.
CHWTraining.org is hosting a free webinar event on October 7 for any AHEC administrator hungry for information about how to expand education and enrollment through e-learning. Directors, program administrators and trainers from AHECs are invited to attend.
Introduction to E-learning: What Every AHEC Needs To Know About Online Training is complimentary and will begin at 1pm Eastern (10am Pacific), during which you’ll learn:
Space is limited for this event, so you don’t want to miss your chance to get in on the action. Please register now!
LIVE WEBINAR DETAILS:
Date: Oct. 7, 2014
Time: 10am Pacific/1pm Eastern
Length: 60 minutes
Most administrators think that online training is the easy solution to training health workers who live and work in remote, rural locations. These tips will help your distance learning program a bigger success.
People who live in remote areas–as many community health workers do–are often left out of excellent training opportunities. They simply live too far from a central meeting space to participate in many courses.
Online learning is an obvious solution because organizations can deliver high-quality education without the need of a meeting space. So directors and managers often throw online courses at their most far-flung workers and consider the job done.
Sure, internet-based training really can make all the difference between building skills as a professional and lacking knowledge. But training people who live far from their peers isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. Programs separated by geographical distance will be even better if a few key factors are addressed from the onset.
If a health worker works in an office or clinic, they have regular contact with managers or coaches and can use new skills with their supervisors right away. Some remote workers don’t have regular access to supervisors or mentors, so what they pick up in class could sit stagnant.
If mentors aren’t in the learners’ communities, put them there, at least virtually. This could mean setting up phone calls with a coach to discussion implementation of the skills, or requiring regular online check-ins through the forums or email. A little extra attention, and accountability, can make a big difference in a health worker implementing what they learned faster and better.
One tremendous benefit to working with others in an online course is being able to make connections with people who also work in and understand the community. People quickly seek out others that live nearby and might already know of helpful resources in the area. Some programs even encourage out-of-class networking by offering in-person sessions to complement online time.
If a learner sees there are no nearby peers in their class, they’re more likely to feel disengaged and ignore the opportunity to make connections online. You can address this by offering ways for people to connect:
Internet connection in faraway places might not be easy for everyone. Some people rely on libraries or other public terminals for connectivity. These terminals could be in small facilities with limited open hours and competition for use. Bad roads or spotty Internet connections, made worse in bad weather, can make this even more of a challenge.
If you can, establish additional places or kiosks that learners can use for their work. You might be able to send a laptop or iPad to a nearby office or even make one available to the learner so they can participate. Do a little groundwork and find out where public computers are located so you can give your learners a list of places they can access.
Even if remote learners have a home or work internet connection, loosen your policy to accommodate outages. Downed phone lines during ice storms can cut off a community and make a learner miss deadlines. Notify your facilitator where learners before class so they can be aware of any kinds of access blocks.
Remember that a learner can be “remote” even if they’re down the block from your head office. Job interruptions, vacations and a busy life can all interrupt participation in a class. Think about how these strategies apply to all your learners, and you could find that your online learning program is an even greater success.
Photo credit: Internet Cafe / Butchery by Eric Parker on Flickr.
Following the positive response we received from our article Ways to Increase E-learning Participation among health worker professional development programs, we offer 10 more ways to help learners lock away lessons.
The most common reason why people don’t retain learning is they don’t finish a course. If you can find out what the underlying reasons are for dropping out, you can present your learners with an experience they can use. In most cases, withdrawals are due to family, job commitments (very common with CHWs who balance working in the field with completing a course), vacations and poor time management. Change up when and how you offer your information, and you can make it easier for students to complete.
Whether a course happens in person or online, what happens during class time represents only part of the learning process. In order to make sure people keep learning when they’re outside of the classroom, which is the best way to encourage retention, apply lessons to work time during coaching sessions or work with peers, or supply tools and resources that can be used with clients.
Concrete examples gleaned from other health workers that relate closely to the job at hand or the people in the community is a proven way for learning to stick. Present case studies of real people or situations. Interview in-house experts and use their contribution as learning material. Avoid generalizations and vagueness, and participants in a course will find it much easier to understand how what they’re learning relates to their job.
Flat, one-sided courses are a sure ticket to inattention and boredom. Participation greatly helps people interact and remember material. If you use a facilitator in your training program, make sure they’re asking questions to check understanding. Ask students to research a concept and explain it to the rest of the class. Group work and role plays are also helpful activities for encouraging participation.
Professional development courses don’t have to be boring, but many of them end up dry. Inject a little humor into the course and people will remember the joke when it’s connected to a lesson.
Some health workers are unengaged because they’re bogged down with the technology or aren’t sure how to proceed. Begin early by identifying learners who are at risk of dropping out or who have little technical knowledge. If you have physical space, appoint someone who can sit down at a computer with the learner and guide them through tasks.
Job training doesn’t happen in isolation–it should be a continuum of learning experiences before and after the course you’re offering. Provide reference to foundational courses learners might have taken in the past, and give the course future context.
Some learners are visual, some are auditory and some do better with written text. Mix up how you present information, and you’ll better reach students with different learning styles.
Is your class hard enough? If the course is too pattycakey, learners will quickly feel bored–or worse, insulted–and switch off. Challenge learners with enough work, questions that make them think, asking them to research.
Avoid These CHW Training Program Bad Habits
Some courses, on the other hand, are too hard. Learners can become discouraged quickly, which also makes them switch off. Make sure your material is targeted correctly and that you’ve provided learners with the appropriate foundational work they’ll need to succeed.
How AHEC of Southeastern Massachusetts Successfully Shifted to Online Training
Read about how this health education organization increased their capacity to train learners with e-learning.
Your community health workers will thank you for discovering the best way of delivering educational materials.
Blended learning takes the best of in-person training and melds it with the best of online training. It’s a principle that predates e-learning, because teachers have been mixing facilitation methods for years as they mix different facilitation methods, resource formats, and technologies. What makes it relevant to the e-learning world is part of the teaching occurs with an Internet connection.
Here’s a fairly typical format for a blended training program we see at CHWTraining:
Blended learning is a flexible approach to addressing a range of learning styles and also adapting content to the right format. For example, motivational interviewing might be better addressed in a live setting, while assessment skills are easy to teach online. Studies have shown that it’s easier to keep a group engaged for longer with a blended program.
The first step is to figure out what you really need. This means conducting a needs assessment, which I’ll assume you already did. If not, read about how to assemble a needs assessment.
If you offer only in-person training, you probably already know about this method’s benefits–and drawbacks. You can segue into blended learning by looking critically at what portions of your program can easily be delivered online, or those pieces that lack consistency. Depending on your technical capacity, it might be relatively straightforward to convert those into an online format.
An easy way to augment your live program is to look at off-the-shelf online courses that you can supplement your own program. There are many options for these ready-to-go offerings, but here are some examples of courses we offer for health workers.
Some organizations offer only online training, often relying heavily on off-the-shelf courses and deploying them to staff members. This can work out fine, but you might be able to increase engagement and retention if you supplement with in-person elements. For example, you might have an in-person kickoff session to introduce learners to the technology and subject they’re about to learn. Or you might assign coaches to teams to apply what they learned online in the field.
If you’re starting from scratch and need to figure out what makes the most sense offering online and what should be in person, you can follow this helpful example from Learning Solutions magazine’s article “Content Analysis: Key to Excellence in Your Blended Learning.” The author explains how to think of a course as “a collection of content, which can be organized in a ring binder or a folder in a computer.” Looking at those pieces of content, you can decide which can be better delivered online, and which can be better delivered in person:
An important takeaway for any administrator thinking of integrating blended learning is that it is not about eliminating anyone’s job or replacing a human with technology. Blended learning is a way to serve your learners better by enhancing their experience and by giving trainers more teaching tools.
How Washington’s Office of Healthy Communities Uses Blended Learning to Train up to 500 Employees a Year
Download CHWTraining’s free case study to learn how this state department created a successful program to train community health workers.
Talance, Inc., provides curriculum development and technology tools to organizations that want to create workers who transform health in America’s communities.