My latest ramblings.
Enjoy! I definitely got important things to say
My latest ramblings.
Enjoy! I definitely got important things to say
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.
The term “online learning” is notoriously slippery. One person’s PDF handout is another person’s webinar.
While defining the way you deliver training online to community health workers might be confusing to the uninitiated, there is a method that the industry follows. Here’s a handy little guide to how e-learning is delivered, which is summed up in two words: asynchronous and synchronous.
Asynchronous means that learners may be in the class together, but they’re not online at the same time. One person might log in to review their work in the morning, while another logs in at midnight. They’re reviewing the same information, they even might be completing assignments together, but they do their work at different times. The work gets done when the learner does it. There may or may not be a facilitator or instructor with asynchronous learning. Examples:
In online training, synchronous means that everyone completes the training together, at the same time. In practical terms, this means there’s a scheduled time to show up and finish, and everyone has to follow the same schedule. The work gets done only during a specified time. There is a facilitator or instructor with synchronous learning. Examples:
There are mixtures of these classifications, and many programs also incorporate an in-person element with blended learning (read more about blended learning). These classifications form the basis of most online training programs, and knowing the difference between them will help inform your decision about what kind of training is right for you.
Curious to see what some of these learning methods look like? Try out yourself in our free upcoming webinar Introduction to E-Learning: What Every AHEC Needs To Know About Online Training.
When: Tues., Oct. 7, 2014, 1pm ET
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.
In this webinar, you’ll 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.
Monique Cuvelier is the president of Talance and founder of CHWTraining.org. She has worked with health-based organizations across the country in helping them create robust training programs. Clients include AHEC of Southeastern Massachusetts and the Washington Association of Community and Migrant Health Centers.
AHEC executives looking for innovative education that will drive engagement and help build participation.
Dozens of new services and promise to bring strength to your online community health worker training program. Here are five that are honestly useful.
Unless you’re considering setting up and hosting your own online learning program in-house (most organizations go with a managed hosting company like Talance unless they have a dedicated technical department with specialists), the list of technical tools you actually need to run your program is pretty short:
If you have CHWs in the field, that list might expand to include a terminal for checking lessons and possibly a printer.
Meanwhile, the list of software, apps and online services that promise a more productive and engaging online learning program continues to grow. Look at this enormous list of lists from Education World magazine, for starters.
You can spend years sifting through the options, but here are a few that we honestly think are helpful for administrators and instructors:
What’s hot in online healthcare education delivery methods, and why your organization can’t ignore any of them.
Learners looking for keep raising the bar on what they expect in terms of skill-based health education. It seems anything can drive the need to expand and elevate what you offer your health workers. It might be availability (can they take the course in the evenings or after hours when they’re not in the field?), or hardware (does it work on the iPad?) or collaboration (is there a social element that lets learners network with each other?).
Many healthcare agencies still rely heavily on in-person training or consider “online” to be a PowerPoint presentation. If your organization is like this, you’ll need to work even harder to meet the expectations of your learners. Here are the trends you need to follow to navigate the ever-changing world of health training.
The “cloud” refers to the Internet in this instance. Cloud-based learning on a hosted LMS (learning management system) is a convenient and relatively low-cost way of delivering curricula to learners who want the ultimate in flexibility. Because courses are hosted online, learners can access the content 24/7 no matter where they are. Training that’s delivered over the Internet and always available is an expectation among most learners, especially younger ones who have already experienced learning online as part of high school and/or college.
Anyone who has spent too many hours playing Candy Crush, or seen someone else glued to an Xbox, understands how games can grab your attention like nothing else. Savvy educators have noticed this too, and they’ve applied video game design elements to motivate learners. The theory is if something is fun, learners are engaged, and they’ll learn better and retain those skills.
A course with game-based elements might include immediate feedback, rewards such as “badges,” or increasing challenges.
Depending on the subject, off-the-shelf curriculum can be perfect. How many ways are there to screen someone for breast cancer, for example? While you don’t need to reinvent the wheel for all topics, some localization is helpful. This might mean translating the course content into Spanish, or providing case studies that match demographics. This trend makes matching a course to your learners much easier.
More people are drifting away from their desktop computers in favor of their handhelds. This is driving the trend of more courses, or elements of the courses, to be available on mobile devices, and thus mobile learning, or m-learning. In practical terms, it means that the course should be visible when you’re looking at it on your smartphone. It might also have features such as forum updates, or compatibility with social applications.
MOOCs (massive open online courses) are about the biggest–and most controversial–thing in learning now. MOOCs are cloud-based courses on the web that are widely open to an unlimited number of participants. Many of these courses are free, at least for students, or priced low.
Just as social media revolutionized the way people communicate with each other, social learning is a trend that may change the way people learn with each other. Social learning employs many of the same tools and technologies of social media and applies them to the digital classroom. This might include Twitter, blogs, wikis, YouTube and Facebook.
With the right team in place, your organization can establish and a successful online health worker training program that meets the needs of your learners.
The only way to create an online learning program that works and complements your organization is to plug into the right brainpower. But your team of online health training staff will look a little different from your average health training staff. The best programs have teams that are well trained in working with an online student base. Here are the essential members you’ll need for your team.
This is an executive-level manager who is an advocate for the team and able to approve any necessary expenditures. The decision-maker is also the key approver on all decisions—especially ones that require a budget. This person may not attend meetings, but at least reviews executive summaries or meets with the project leader of the team for status. Having executive-level support is essential for a successful program.
An executive-level decision-maker must be internal.
The project manager oversees the full life cycle of the project. This manager also interfaces with the internal client and e-learning team, providing schedules and organizing deliverables so the project keeps on track. The project manager ensures the team has the information it needs to get the job done.
You can hire an outside project manager, but they should work very closely with an internal liaison.
Depending on the nature of your course, and if you’re creating it internally, you will need an instructional designer and/or a writer. The instructional designer takes the instructional material and arranges it in a way that’s informative, engaging and serves your pedagogic goals. In other words, they design the online course. Instructional designer Christy Tucker has a nice article on what she does for a living.
This may or may not be the same as a writer. We at Talance tend to work with an independent curriculum writer who specializes in editorial content. This person works closely with the instructional designer to create an interactive course that educates.
Both of these roles can be appointed to outside consultants.
The instructional designer or curriculum writer works with subject matter experts to develop the content. An SME is not needed for every project. When the subject is new within the organization, the instructional designer may research the subject via books and journals or interview experts in the field.
A subject matter expert can be an internal staff member or an outside professional.
The editor improves writing and handles proofreading. It is widely believed by many that they can edit their own work (this is never true), or that anyone is qualified to edit (rarely true). Editing is where too many administrators skimp, and that’s a mistake. Hire a qualified editor and your final product will better engage your audience.
An editor can be an outside hire, and in rare circumstances, an internal appointee.
A graphic designer overlaps in some ways with an instructional designer, depending on the course. However the chief output of the graphic designer is images, iconography, animations, the look and feel of the course, and enhanced stock photos to fit project needs.
A graphic designer can be a qualified internal staff member, but make sure they are indeed qualified. Otherwise, use an outside designer.
The media specialist produces and edits audio and video. This is almost certainly an outside consultant.
The technical producer understands techspeak and can assemble all the elements into a running course. This person will create and apply custom CSS, mark up pages with HTML, add interactivity, and providing the technical coding necessary to ensure the course can interface with a learning management system (LMS) if required.
The technical producer is usually from a third party or vendor.
The LMS administrator is an expert at configuring the learning platform, from enrolling participants to creating online quizzes.
If you host your own platform, this could be an internal staff member, or it can be someone from the managed hosting company (such as Talance) you use.
Runs quality assurance (QA) checks by testing the course from a technical perspective and ensuring it matches the way the course was planned. Testers usually work off testing plans so they can make sure learners can use each part of the system.
A tester is usually from a third party or vendor, although it’s smart to perform internal testing as well.
Facilitators are trainers experienced in both in-person and online instruction who help learners create a cohesive learning community in which they share ideas, apply their knowledge, give feedback, and make reflections on their work.
You can use your existing training staff, but they should have a background in online learning or be trained to do so.
Free download: A step-by-step guide for training CHWs online
Learn more about what and who you need to set up an online training program with our free guide E-learning Strategy Essentials.
Talance, Inc., provides curriculum development and technology tools to organizations that want to create workers who transform health in America’s communities.