Tag Archive: CME through Distance Education


I received an email today…

Dear XYZ,

After much consideration, we’ve decided that it is time to shutdown Amplify. On behalf of the team, I want to thank you for being part of our journey. It is important to us that we shut down the service in the most responsible and considerate manner possible. Towards that end there are two things that you should consider:

  • First, we’ve arranged with Clipboard (a new service under entirely different ownership and management) to give you an account on their service, which is currently accessible by invitation-only. You can accept this invitation and register your account now.
  • Second, from the registration page, Clipboard will allow you to easily request that your old clips be preserved in Clipboard. If you don’t want them converted, then do nothing. We can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to convert all of your older clips, but if the demand is sufficient, we will do our best.

They say, “We’ve had a wonderful run and we are grateful to everyone for taking the journey with us…….Clipboard will hold Amplify’s databases in trust and if there is sufficient interest they will provide a migration tool to import Amplify clips into Clipboard.”

Wonderful run? And no thought of the audience? Is this the birth of the death of social media?

Seriously, I do not want to join another Social Platform that predates to grow. Goodluck Clipboard!!!

Scenario- based learning stages a context, within which learners live and work in their everyday life. It’s based on the concept of situated cognition, which is the idea that knowledge can not be developed and fully understood independent of its context(Randall 2002). Scenario-based learning puts the student in a situation or context and exposes them to issues, challenges and dilemmas and asks them to apply knowledge and practice skills relevant to the situation (www.ucl.ac.uk).

Scenario- based learning has particular advantages for practice- based discipline areas where the experience of practitioners is especially relevant to what constitutes knowledge and understanding in the field. Using scenario-based learning in the field of Healthcare has brought forward many such advantages to learners that count on practical experience in everyday activities.

Let us consider a case where Indira Gandhi National Open University conducted such a scenario-based learning project. 10 academic programs were chosen to be included into this project.

The following frame work was given to develop the scenarios:
1. Define critical competencies for graduates of the program
2. Identify learning outcomes for students in the program
3. Identify learning context and develop suitable learning scenarios that reflect the events in life and work of persons who have acquired these competencies
4. Define learning activities assessable and non assessable tasks.
5. Identify all learning resources and instructional opportunities
6. Identify and define cooperative and collaborative learning opportunities using technologies.
7. Identification and definition of opportunities for feedback and remediation.

Let us study a sample scenario as an example:

Discipline: Civil Engineering

Topic: Structural Analysis

Learning Objectives:

1) To distinguish between static and dynamic loads
2) To conceptualize the influence lines
3) To differentiate between Influence Line Diagram (ILD) and Bending Moment Diagram (BMD)

Scenario:

It was a shining morning of October. All students of your class are in cheerful mood traveling to Roorkee in Jan- Shatabdi Express for educational trip with Prof. Dutta.
Suddenly, you feel a shock as train stops abruptly. While waiting for the train to re- start, it is leant that due to some accident on the bridge ahead, the train will not move at least for next 5 hrs.
Out of curiosity you all move to the accident site with Prof Datta. You observe that there is a lot of distortion of the track and even the rails have gone out of place. While discussing the reasons of track failure, Amit points out the presence of visible cracks in the side beam
of the bridge. Suresh asks Prof. Datta whether the bridge failure is due to excess loading.

In turn, Prof. Datta asks the students, whether they remember different types of loading on the structures. You all start naming the different types of loading, you have seen earlier.

Learning Activity 1:

a) List out the different types of loading on structures.
b) Categorize the above list into static and dynamic loads.

After going through the list, Prof. Dutta asks you that why the live loads are not considered as dynamic load when the movement of goods and human beings are considered in the live load.

Learning Activity 2:

Identify the characteristics of static loads and dynamic loads.

Prof. Datta asks the learners to tie a rope across two poles tightly. He then asks Suresh to hang four bricks at four different places and observe the deflected shape of the rope.

Simulation 1: Prof Datta asks you to remove the three bricks from the rope starting from the right pole and observe the deflection of rope at mid point.

simulation activity

Simulation 2: The he asks to repeat the same exercise by moving the brick at points B, C , D and E subsequently and observe the deflection at mid point each time.

simulation activity

Conclusion: The whole scenario-based learning program was developed to be very challenging and was able to completely immerse the learners into the learning cycle.

 

One of the basic objective for any  training program is to ‘maintain the capability to learn and grow’. Especially, in a set up where continous and multiple training programs are being developed and delivered, it becomes essential for the trainers to engage and stimulate the learner brain in a fundamental way, so that it keeps engaged, alert and adventure-seeking.

While designing an elearning program, or any training program, STANDARDIZATION is the last thing I would like to do. Standardization kills the excitement.

The brain is a high-speed assumptive device that loves to run ahead of sensory perception. Imagine watching a movie. As an exciting scene is percieved by our brains, our brain starts creating assumptions. It starts creating storyboards of future scenes. A stimulated brain learner more. The learning rate here is high. 

Only when it watches a dull and uninteresting scene, it lays dull and that is symbolic of low learning rates.

The brain is interested in reconstructing environments and is always looking for the surprising, unusual or different, says Michael M. Merzenich, chief scientific officer of Posit Science.

Life today is already so equipped- with tools, technologies and information availability. It has become more or less, so very predictable. We plan, we do, we get. There is a certain lack of unusualness, surprising and thrilling.

Learning and Training cannot be built or delivered with the standardized usual feel. “The more you engage your brain in ways that stimulate it, the more you’re doing to maintain your capacity to learn and to improve. It’s actually right at the heart of maintaining yourself in a fundamental sense”, Merzenich says.

People tend to take more breaks when they perform same, boring tasks- essentially predictable tasks. It is the nature of the task that prompts the engagement of the worker.

5 things that help eLearning maintain efficient learning rates

1. No to Standardization, Go to newness
2. Every minute be the First minute of your training program
3. Add distinctiveness to every chapter/ program
4. Challenge the learner brain with surpise-elements
5. Add variations in problems you let the brain face

Roll back to 1985, when Chip Morningstar and Joseph Romero in designing LucasFilm’s multi-palyer online game Habitat.  This is when the word ‘Avatar’ was coined in its then context. Since then Avatars, Actors and Characters have some terms that describe the virtual representation of the player or user in varied contexts.

In the recent years, a stigma of focused effort has been constituted to establish a social context between the learner and the learning platform (be it any form of learning content).

In simple and practical terms, a Character or Avatar creates a social representation of a real person into a designated role within the learning program. Relating this to the current Healthcare Learning and Educational landscape, the involved persons are majorly Physicians, Students, Clinicians, Academicians and other allied healthcare professionals. Each individual applies to its specific competency role in the industry.

As we speak about the industry specific title, each title is entitled to a role which performs its designated role in a Practice-Based environment. A Practice-Based environment demands only and only Practice in Practical.

The challenge here is how does e-Learning transform learning to be virtual yet practical. How can e-Learning in it’s inorganic matter deliver results similar to that of organic and practical methods.

Avatars play the bridging role here. An Avatar can play various social roles.

Expert/ Instructor/ Coach: Here the character is modeled after an expert or knowledgeable human – most commonly a senior surgeon, professor, training manager/head or expert in the field such as a regulation,etc. Effective use of this role with the help of an Avatar ensures social engagement between the character (Avatar) and the student through a conversational tone, interaction, and feedback.

Learner/ User: An Avatar of learning establishes the emotional presence of the learner into the learning scenario. It simulates the learner’s belongingness within the learning context and situation. An Avatar created with situational and curriculum based contextual engagement allows the emotive mind of the learner to dwell into imaginative and experiential learning.

C0-learners or Peers: Avatars of co-learners or learning buddies create a sense of being accompanied. It helps eliminate the loneness factor of the learner and builds a scope of togetherness into the learning environment.

Immersive e-learning

In the study, We Learn Better Together: Enhancing e-Learning with Emotional Characters (2005) by Heidi Maldonado et al., it is discovered that the presence of a Co-learner resulted in learners performing better. Students with a Co-learner scored significantly higher than students without a Co-learner.

Google has brought many a resourceful applications through Google Labs.

Google Earth is a virtual globe, map and geographical information program that was originally called EarthViewer 3D, and was created by Keyhole, Inc, a company acquired by Google in 2004. The product was re-released as Google Earth in 2005.

Google launched the Google Maps API in June 2005 to allow developers to integrate Google Maps into their websites.

The list goes long with Google books, calendar, news, search, videos, wave and so on.

Last year Google launched its new high-tech 3D product- Google Body. Google Body is a detailed 3D model of the human body. You can peel back anatomical layers, zoom in, and navigate to parts that interest you. Click to identify anatomy, or search for muscles, organs, bones and more.

One can also share the exact scene being viewed by copying and pasting the corresponding URL.

Google Body, which is already available in web form, can now run on Android tablets that use the 3.0 Honeycomb version of Google’s mobile operating system. Using 3D graphics capabilities of the latest tablets such as Motorola’s Xoom, the hardware is now good enough to properly display a 3D-heavy app such as Google Body, which lets you look at your organs, muscles and bones.

It looks like a pretty cool way to explore the human body – just like earth or maps, you can strip away layers (i.e. skin, bones, etc.), rotate it in 3D, and search for body parts before having them highlighted in the app. Teachers are gonna have a gala time giving anatomy classes to students.

There are experts and then there are instructional experts who have brought a huge value by proposing various best-practice instructional approaches to aid web-based science education and training. All such instructional theorems and hypothesis contribute to the foundation grid lines of online training and education.

While physical models and virtual 3 D models deciphers a great value for teaching Fundamentals of Electrons in Atoms and Molecules; the greater need has always been to empower students to read, research and discover underlying facts of such subjects.

Leveraging from emerging e-learning technologies and tools, e-learning inventors have produced innovative and immersive discovery tools that cater to the above said need.  Leading educators like Wiley, Elsevier and other scientific innovators have transformed model-based training methods to discovery-based simulation applets.

A Case Example:

To teach the Motion of  a Projectile, a simulation can be created as an applet. The “Reset” button brings the projectile to its initial position. You can start or stop and continue the simulation with the other button. If you choose the option “Slow motion”, the movement will be ten times slower. You can vary (within certain limits) the values of initial height, initial speed, angle of inclination, mass and gravitational acceleration. Below is an example of similar instruction as created at Walter Fendt.

Another interesting example can be seen at Glovico.org. Glovico provides a social business platform to learn and teach languages. Teachers are native language experts who decide their coaching prices. Students get the liberty to choose teachers based on prices and ratings.

I remember learning about Set Theory and Venn Diagrams in the late 90’s by reading text books and practicing exercises on paper notebooks. I feel envious of what technology has brought to today’s mathematics students. Utah State University has been creating interactive mathematics exercises that allow Discovery-Based learning for student. Using applet-based intuitive functions and guided instruction, students can explore and attempt randomized mathematical problems.

It is heartening to see technology and learning instructions blending into exploratory tools that encourage and empower learners to adopt online learning and training through a Scientific-Discovery based instructional approach. For all ages to come, I firmly believe, in way or other, this would be the best instructional approach to any subject of training, majorly for science education and training.

As healthcare facilities across the nation admit more patients, increase demands on doctors and face nursing shortages, they cannot afford to have their employees spend any more time taking federally mandated training than is necessary. They need to save both time and money while ensuring that their staff have obtained required certification.

Inspired by the increased need for effective healthcare e-learning and by the need for healthcare educators to understand e-learning technologies and standards, instructional design techniques, and adult learning principles; InfoPro Learning, Inc started it’s healthcare e-learning practice. This independent function provides information and collaborative solutions and opportunities to the diverse set of individuals involved in healthcare e-learning, including instructional designers, healthcare educators and administrators, publishers, IT system administrators, and web developers.

According to the executive leadership of InfoPro,  “Other industries, including aviation and defense, have successfully leveraged online learning to train their workforces, but as with other technologies, healthcare has been far behind in using learning technologies effectively. Finally, healthcare is beginning to embrace e-learning as professional societies, universities, teaching hospitals, government, and commercial enterprises include it as a part of their overall strategy. What we have not seen yet is a lot of high quality content or cost-effective use of e-learning resources.”

Often experienced healthcare education providers have problems understanding where and how technology standards map into effective e-learning, and IT implementers often fail to understand the role of pedagogy. InfoPro Learning brings together the realms of technology and pedagogy for effective e-learning.

Our heathcare function serves as a comprehensive source for entities who produce and distribute online healthcare education for all levels of learners. Through our continous learning and practice we thrive to provide information and collaborative opportunities and solutions on a range of areas in e-learning including pedagogy (i.e., instructional design, assessment, distance learning, and curriculum development), technology standards, educational technology, educational metrics, e-learning economics, and issues and methods specific to healthcare education.

Areas for online healthcare education: Clinical Training, Surgical Training, CME through Distance Education, Healthcare Sales Force Training, Medical Equipment Training, Practice Management Training, Occupational Safety & Health Administration, and much more. 

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