There’s no debate that public health and safety concerns amidst the COVID-19 pandemic have forced almost every aspect of our everyday routines into the digital space. The concept of in-person learning and training is no exception. The Ellumen team specializes in both in-person and digital learning for healthcare systems, ensuring our training strategies are comprehensive, personalized and accessible to those maintaining high-quality care in federal hospitals. Switching from in-person to online learning, especially in the case of training a technical skill or new system, can be difficult but enhances accessibility and consistency for each learner. Review the pros and cons below to optimize training efforts and determine how to make the switch.

The pros:

Safety and accessibility for everyone. Learning from the convenience of a socially-distanced space means no unnecessary travel, face-to-face interaction or shared surfaces. This ensures each trainee is given the option to learn in a healthy and safe environment.

Accessibility across devices. No longer does any trainee need to be at one computer or one classroom to complete a training. With digital learning methods, a learner can complete their training anytime, anywhere, driving down ancillary costs and accommodating each trainee’s time and schedule. Quick mobile accessibility ensures a person working in the medical field can receive information they need on a skill or system quickly and in the palm of their hand.

Incorporation of modern technology, gamification and immersive simulation. With digital learning comes the opportunity to use creative software, interactive knowledge checks, virtual reality and personalized learning paths. The opportunities for inserting modern learning techniques into digital spaces are endless, and being at the forefront of progressive learning methods ensures your training never gets boring or repetitive.

Reliable analysis and engagement. Using a digital learning platform allows trainers to track and analyze when and how each person is encountering material. Engagement statistics, such as how long a trainee spends on a module or the types/percentages of incorrect answers on a knowledge check, lead to more streamlined, effective and in-depth learning. Each course becomes an opportunity to gather quantified evidence on how to better the curriculum and user interface.

Maintaining consistency. If a training team needs to ensure each person receives the exact same information, digital learning is the way to go. Elearning and online classrooms maintain curriculum consistency across classes or audiences, ensuring each trainee access to the same education. Course consistency mitigates blind spots or weaknesses due to curriculum bias and ensures important points are delivered with clarity.

The cons:

Issues with mobile or cross-device optimization. Training teams that lean heavily on in-person instruction may have a hard time optimizing and streamlining a digital curriculum. However, with creativity and an understanding of digital learning platforms, almost anything is possible.

Lack of in-house resources. It takes a team of designers, developers and learning specialists to produce a professional and user-friendly online course or platform. Seeking help from outside can seem daunting and expensive. However, third party digital learning specialists are an option; the Ellumen team includes experts on digital learning development and design.

Building a sustainable and pleasant infrastructure. Even with the tools to build an elearning course, a training team needs an accessible website or platform to place material. Developing this from scratch requires buy-in and resources, with the option to purchase packaged intranets or platforms. With limited resources, even a Sharepoint site can suffice for a digital learning environment, but it’s best to personalize and cater your digital learning environment to specific audiences.

Technology learning curve and remote resources. For some trainees, learning how to use online courses, gamified concepts or digital platforms requires active acclimation and some pre-curriculum training from the team. Including clear instructions, FAQs and a navigation statement help to mitigate this issue, but person-to-person training on digital platforms may be necessary. Additionally, not all trainees will have equal access to reliable remote resources (such as computers, quiet space or a webcam). Training teams would need to foster open communication and provide resources if necessary for those disadvantaged by a digital switch.

Depletion of interpersonal communication. A computer can never replace human interaction and real-time Q&A. Human trainers will always be necessary for building curriculum, answering tough questions or providing personalized help.

Safety concerns have made the use of digital training methods more prevalent and necessary than ever before. However, each training team should review the pros and cons to optimize the experience for trainees. For more information on Ellumen’s training capabilities with TEWLS and DMLSS/LogiCole, visit our training & communications page.