Delivering Adult Education Virtually: 5 Hallmarks of Success

Change is here, ready or not.

Healthcare is an ever-changing and ever-evolving field of practice with advances in medicine, expanded evidence sources, new treatment options and changing regulations and models of care. Lifelong learning is essential – it is one of the tenets of the health professions. Those tasked with educating health care professionals – known as learning professionals – have their work cut out for them with all the abrupt changes COVID-19 has caused.

For learning professionals, many aspects of our work are shifting faster than we could ever imagine. The organizations we all work for are undoubtedly facing a variety of challenges and looking to technology-based solutions to support their training and learning activities. We are being asked to stand up new learning technologies to support additional training capabilities, develop new training strategies and move in-person education online. It is also likely that we are also being asked to do it quickly.

But, as we know, out of chaos arises opportunity. What COVID-19 has done, for better or for worse, is made us move out of our comfort zones. Learning professionals around the world are being forced to transform and make unprecedented change. In the spirit of continued learning, coupled with innovation and idea exchange, let’s not do this alone – we’re in this together. Collaborating, developing and sharing ideas are the cornerstone to a meaningful and relevant learning experiences.

Here are five hallmarks of success that all learning professionals should consider as we navigate these cirumstances:

1. Amplify Digital Learning:

Health Care professionals are busy and digital learning allows us to integrate learning into busy work schedules. Digital learning is an instructional practice, it makes use of a broad range of technology enhanced educational strategies. It includes blended learning, personalized learning, eLearning, video and other strategies that rely on digital tools to a small or large degree.

2. Become Learner Obsessed:

Learner-centric design means getting into the mindset of the learner to ensure engagement and learning transfer. Ensuring that learners are engaged and that the ideas in the course can be transferred from theory to practical application are important factors in successful adult education delivery.

3. Design for Responsiveness and Accessibility:

Courses are consumed on a variety of different devices and platforms today. Designing courses accordingly is imperative. No longer are learners only accessing courses in a designated in-person location or on their desktop computers. Tablets, laptops, and mobile phones have all become a legitimate source of learning.

4. Engagement Tools are Key:

For webinars or virtual instructor-led training, engagement tools such as polls, Q&A sessions and annotation tools, are key. Every three to five minutes, the presenter should use an interactive tool or technique to keep the learner listening and engaged. Other ideas include making sure visuals use lots of colors and minimal text, offering prizes or rewards for active participation and engagement, and turning on your video so your learners can see you.

5. Provide Better Feedback:

Adults who are learning something new need feedback on their learning and performance. Feedback is like a barometer we use to help us know whether we have understood something accurately or whether we are performing a new skill as intended. Without feedback, we only have our own perspective, which isn’t always accurate. Digital learning platforms are providing real-time feedback, and digital curriculum usually includes embedded assessments that help learners gauge how they are doing.

About 3M Health Care Academy

3M Health Care helps healthcare professionals by offering training resources and free continuing education courses through an online portal called 3M Health Care Academy. In 2019, 3M Health Care Academy engaged with nearly 300,000 medical professionals in 44 countries. It’s available as a mobile app, too – which enables professionals to tap into a library of knowledge on the go, simply by downloading the app from the app store. Our online platform features a vault of valuable resources to help deepen expertise and improve patient care – organized, updated and accessible anytime, from anywhere.

Learn more about our free education for healthcare professionals

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