Can Flipped eLearning be Effective for Continuing Medical Education?

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Are you a Continuing Medical Education (CME) provider constantly on the lookout for ways to create value for medical practitioners through your education programs? Since these are already practicing physicians with long and unpredictable working hours, it is quite challenging to cater to their learning requirements. In this blog, we shall look at the flipped eLearning model as a potential way to make the CME experience more appealing for the medical community. This model is being effectively used by some of our customers for quite some time now. It prioritizes assessments over content unlike the typical eLearning model where content comes before assessments. Since these providers are dealing with learners who are practicing physicians and already know their stuff, the idea is to focus on reinforcement and not introducing new content. Hence the flipped eLearning model could help.

 

The flipped eLearning model thrives on the belief that assessments are more reflective of what the physicians are doing in practice, and can incentivize them to learn new things. In this model, short assessment nuggets can be used as the first point to engage the practitioners. These nuggets that can typically be completed in 2-5 minutes can be aimed at assessing their knowledge on particular subjects. Once the practitioners attempt them, the nugget can then teach them the required lessons through feedback. This enables practitioners to be more receptive of the learning module. In case they have answered the assessment question correctly, they are keen to explore further on the subject. In case the answer is wrong, they are keen to know the right option. In both the cases, they are more receptive to learning. And since this learning doesn’t demand much time out of their busy schedules, they are happy to undertake it.

 

The use of assessments to gauge actual knowledge and then enhance it, also calls for using advanced methods to evaluate, rather than just multiple choice questions. Explorative and immersive assessments, simulated operations on virtual patients, allow for more in-depth exploration of the assessment questions. Automated scoring and tracking could make this flipped eLearning model more useful, since the providers can assess the physician progress from time to time and direct the learning modules as per individual needs.

 

What are your thoughts on using this flipped eLearning model? Do you think it could have a positive impact on their engagement and reception levels? We would love to hear from you.

Interactive Mini-Modules—An Interesting Approach to Micro-Learning

If you are connected to eLearning in any way, you probably have heard a lot about micro-learning. There is a lot being discussed in conferences, blogs, online forums and webinars on how to create effective micro-learning to meet millennials’ learning requirements.

When talking about micro-learning, most of us often think of videos, podcasts or simple text and image slide shows. How about creating an interactive micro-learning module? Well, it may sound like a huge task to infuse interactivity into a micro-learning burst. But it’s not as difficult and time-consuming as it sounds. I recently created an interactive mini-module and would like to share the experience with you.

One of my colleagues, Sonia, had written an interesting blog on “Why Stories Matter” to make learning more impactful and engaging. It inspired me to create a mini-module on how storytelling can be used as an effective instructional strategy. The objective of this module is to help an instructional designer/trainer/educator to get started with using storytelling in their instructions. To keep the module simple and brief, I planned to include an introduction to storytelling, a brief on how to create stories and some tips for effective storytelling.

After creating and chunking the content based on the learning objective, I turned to Raptivity, a rapid interactivity building tool, for the actual development of the module. I chose five interaction templates from Raptivity that suited the content. Then, I gathered the relevant images for each interaction and started customizing the interactions in Raptivity.

Interaction 1 - eBook

For introduction, I chose the eBook/flip book template and started with a short story to grab attention and then went on to explain what storytelling is.

 

 

 

Interaction 2 - Lesson

I created the second interaction using flash/flip cards template. It explained essential elements of the story, since learners could view the element names and relevant images on front side of the cards and their description on the flip side.

 

 

Interaction 3 - Buildup and Rollover

After knowing the story elements, the next step is to create a story comprising of those elements. The story mountain helps you plot stories in a proper format. I presented the story mountain in the third interaction using a build-up animation template. Learners can click on each part of the mountain to learn more about it.

 

Interaction 4 - Lesson

In the next interaction, I included some tips to create stories and use storytelling effectively. Here, I chose a lesson template, where tips appear with relevant images as an animation. Learners can revisit any tip by clicking on the number buttons.

 

 

Interaction 5 - Drag and Drop

Lastly, I wanted to include some knowledge check for learners to reinforce their learning. I chose a drag and drop template, where some dos and don’ts for effective storytelling are listed and learners need to classify them correctly. Learners get immediate feedback on dropping a phrase under a wrong category.

 

Interactive Mini-module - Linker course

Once the text and images were ready, it took me a couple of hours to develop each interaction. To put these interactions together as a module, I used the Raptivity Linker tool. Stringing these interactions together was just a matter of minutes and my mini-module on Storytelling was ready!

You can go through this mini-module here.

Using Raptivity and Raptivity Linker, I was able to develop this entire module, including the base content creation, in less than three days. The broad steps that I followed were:

  1. Decide on the learning objective and create a topic outline.
  2. Create and chunk the text into small information bursts.
  3. Choose interaction templates that best suit the text chunks.
  4. Gather/create relevant media assets according to chosen templates.
  5. Customize interaction templates using the text and media assets.
  6. String the interactions together. Alternatively, these interactions can also be used as standalone learning nuggets.

This approach could be a good way to quickly create micro-learning that offers streamlined, short bits of information along with interactivity and engagement. Have you created micro-learning? What approach did you follow and how easy or difficult it was to create it? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Digital Product Training for your Mobile Salesforce

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Effective product training to its salesforce is crucial for any organization’s success and brand value, and this holds true especially for product manufacturing firms. How well a salesforce can deliver the message to existing and prospective customers can make a big difference to its sales figures. But it’s not an easy task, especially when you are constantly innovating and have an extensive range of products, parts and accessories.

 

A lot of training managers at manufacturing companies typically cite product training as one of their key challenge areas. And this is why:

 

  1. Most of the organizations release new products or product updates frequently. Sales representatives keep going on and off the board constantly. It thus becomes a challenge to ensure that they have standardized and up-to-date knowledge on all products at all times.
  2. A lot of times, salesforce is spread across geographically. Also considering that they are often travelling on sales calls, it is a huge task to gather them in one place to attend trainings. It costs in terms of logistics, time invested in travelling and interruption to their work schedule.
  3. Considering the number of trainers involved across multiple locations, maintaining consistent and accurate training content becomes difficult.
  4. Considering multiple product releases and in-turn, their sales collateral, sometimes there is ambiguity on the latest version of such collateral received by the salesforce.

 

All of this could directly impact a company’s bottom line. In the absence of comprehensive, current and easily accessible product knowledge, the sales person could struggle to deliver a smooth pitch about the product, handle customer questions proficiently, recommend right products, gain customer’s trust and essentially get business.

 

A training manager had once asked me, “Then how do we train our salesforce effectively?” My answer to her was “Mobile Learning.” This is the best solution for today’s tech-savvy and mobile salesforce. The various benefits for mobile learning are:

 

For salesforce

  • On-the-go learning via smartphone or tablet, convenient with their schedule and pace
  • Real-time access to current and relevant product knowledge just before or even during customer meetings –leading to ‘Performance Support through Just in Time Learning Solutions’
  • Ability to continuously review completed courses, podcasts and documents
  • Complex product specifications, engineering drawings, installation and servicing information made easy through compelling multimedia content

 

For product manufacturer

  • Better trained, successful and motivated salesforce which can even lead to higher retention
  • Complete control on the training content across multiple locations
  • Boost in training attendance
  • Reduced logistics cost such as hotel or travel expenses
  • Ability to track training attendance, completion and performance
  • Opportunities for increased sales due to strong product knowledge at the point-of-sale

 

While there will always be a place for instructor-led training for some part of it, mobile learning can greatly impact sales through a well-trained sales force, which will always be on top of their game.

 

It would be wonderful to know your thoughts, questions and experiences in the comments section below.