Tag Archives: Blended Learning

The Problem with a Prerequisite

13 Apr

This week I had a really good discussion with my team about creating a program for MS Office 2010 training. While we agreed on course outlines, we differed on the issue of how to enforce a prerequisite.

The idea behind a prerequisite is to ensure that learners have prior skills/knowledge before starting a course.

While we agreed that our training program needed a prerequisite (a “What’s New”), we disagreed on how to ensure that learners took the prerequisite.

The crux of the problem rested on the prerequisite course being classroom based. Classroom based learning has significant benefits when introducing learners to something new, most notably the availability of an instructor to answer questions. However, classroom based learning also has significant drawbacks, primarily a lack of flexibility for the learner.

If a learner can’t attend a course on a particular date, at a particular location, and that course is a prerequisite to attend other courses on a training program, we have problems!

So what is the solution? As a team we came up with a number of possible solutions:

1. Schedule the prerequisite course across different locations, over a wide date range.

2. Video the prerequisite course and make that available for those learners who could not attend the classroom.

3. E-learning – turn the classroom course into an e-learning module.

4. Virtual classrooms – run the prerequisite as a virtual classroom.

All four options have their own advantages and disadvantages. However, I believe that there isn’t a single solution. Rather, I think a blended approach would work best.

As we go forward with this training program, the problem of the prerequisite will need to be addressed. How that looks is still up for debate!

A Template for Training in Healthcare for the 21st century

14 Sep

I recently read Clive Shepherd’s excellent blog post on Julie Wedgwood. The post is a profile of Julie, who for the last 3 years has worked with the Cheshire ICT Service, which provides support for 10,500 National Health Service employees across Cheshire in the UK.

The post details the challenges that Julie faced especially with convincing management the value of training for the organisation. Working in healthcare myself, I also felt empathy with Julie’s initial struggles with existing trainers and working within increasingly tight budget constraints.

However, the story of Julie’s experience really came alive when Clive outlined her 3 year blended learning strategy. This strategy, implemented by stealth and slowly from the bottom-up, helped learners and trainers ease into a new way of learning.

An example of this new way of learning was the delivery of ELITE, the NHS Essential IT skills course. The IT skills of a healthcare workforce tend to range widely from zero to expert. However, healthcare professionals are increasingly becoming depended on technology to do their jobs. For me, the biggest hurdle to get those with zero IT skills up to speed, is actually getting them the training (some simply avoid IT training out of fear, others have jobs that don’t allow them the time to attend classroom training).

Julie’s solution to this problem is really innovative. To draw employees in, the ELITE course is mapped to qualifications (I find developing/sharing learning paths an excellent tool for learner motivation). In addition, the course is delivered as blended learning (offered within a classroom and as e-learning). The e-learning side in particularly interesting, as staff are supported by a tutor either by phone or email.

Notably, the most significant success of Julie’s solution was not just the increase in staff taking the ELITE course, but the increased uptake in other e-learning courses.

Although the learning strategy was implemented slowly and from the bottom-up, the change was culturally dramatic and lasting. Arguably, we have here a template for training in healthcare for the 21st century.

Check out the original post here: