The Impact Of eLearning On Healthcare Education
The healthcare industry has experienced huge amounts of change over the last 10-20 years. A number of macro-trends have required the industry to adapt in varying ways. One huge example of this kind of shift is the increasing popularity of digital and virtual forms of education. The way we teach people new skills and prepare them for careers has evolved dramatically over the last decade.
This is true across a spectrum of industries. The way individuals are trained before entering the healthcare system has experienced these shifts as well. The ways that new healthcare professionals are taught their craft have changed forever. It’s important to be aware of how healthcare education is taking advantage of technology, how to apply it well, and how your students can gain the most from the benefits that eLearning can offer.
The Evolving Nature Of Education
Though the introduction of digital learning methods and tools has created significant differences in the way healthcare education is facilitated, it is certainly not the first time education has undergone a major facelift. In fact, educational formats have seen numerous iterations over the past centuries, even just in the USA alone. Healthcare education is no exception. It has experienced the introduction of new facility types, new teaching methods, new student populations, new technologies, and entirely new areas of practice since the inception of its modern-day form. Healthcare is currently shifting again to make room for the advantages that digital learning can provide.
What Is eLearning?
As alluded to already, eLearning refers to a wide spectrum of ways technology is being implemented and utilized in educational practices. eLearning comprises things like online Learning Management Systems (LMSs), computer-generated teaching or training simulations, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), remote learning/teaching, virtual undergraduate and postgraduate programs, and more. The eLearning field incorporates a broad set of techniques, aids, and tools. If an educational program or technique includes a digital or online component, it likely fits into the category of eLearning.
The Benefits That eLearning Can Create For Healthcare Education
Educating healthcare providers is a complex, multifaceted process. Because of this, eLearning’s varied capabilities lend themselves to being incorporated in a multitude of ways. Many of these techniques can create substantive advantages for both teachers and students. Here are a few of the ways eLearning tools and approaches are being incorporated into healthcare education:
1. By Offering Healthcare Degrees Online And In Virtual Formats
From associate degrees in Nursing all the way to postgraduate doctorate programs in Public Health and Healthcare Administration, it is now possible to earn a wide array of healthcare degrees fully remotely over digital platforms. Ten years ago, degrees earned online were regarded with an amount of skepticism and weren’t considered the same caliber of education as an in-person degree program. However, that opinion is changing across the industry. Though there are still some aspects of healthcare education that can be difficult or impossible to deliver via the eLearning format, technology is ever narrowing the gap between what’s only possible in-person and what is possible remotely via digital interfaces.
2. By Creating Simulations And Virtual Ways To Practice Healthcare Skills
As technology continues to improve, things like realistic video and computer generated imagery, highly sophisticated sensors, robotic components, Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications, and more, make it possible to create highly realistic simulations of real events. There are a number of obvious advantages to being able to simulate live circumstances for training purposes, and these advantages are being realized in healthcare education today. From being able to practice lifelike patient conversations through software to practicing difficult surgeries in VR simulators, simulations can allow healthcare professionals to hone their skills without putting real patients at risk.
3. By Making Healthcare Education Available To Individuals With No In-Person Access
When education happens in a particular time and place, this creates both advantages and disadvantages. One of those disadvantages is the fact that only people who can get to that place at that time can partake. With the advent of eLearning offerings, healthcare education has suddenly become incredibly unrestricted in some ways. This makes healthcare education available to a wide variety of individuals who wouldn’t have been able to access it in the past. This includes people around the world, people who are located in remote communities or areas, or people who have mobility limitations. Making healthcare education available in remote and eLearning forms can also decrease the costs of delivering and obtaining that education. It can make travel and relocation unnecessary. And additionally, eLearning can expand healthcare education’s reach and allow it to be available to much wider numbers of people at once.
Tips For Implementing eLearning Into Healthcare Education Practices
If you are involved in healthcare education and would like to learn more about incorporating eLearning tools and techniques, here are a few tips to begin:
- Research best practices
Find out what institutions are on the cutting edge of healthcare eLearning offerings and learn how they are doing it. You can learn a lot from programs that are further along in the eLearning process.
- Ask your existing students
Your current student base can assist you in this process. Poll your student body to get helpful ideas about what they actually need. They can offer insights and help indicate whether a proposed installation or upgrade would really be useful or used.
- Watch other tech-savvy industries
Sometimes inspiration for new ways to incorporate technology can come from different industries. Take a look at how other industries are training their new recruits and hires. How is eLearning being utilized to accomplish other types of education?
All these ideas and more can help you design solid strategies for utilizing eLearning in ways that will enhance your healthcare education delivery.