Blended Learning in Medical Education: Five Top Tips

Leigh van Wyk thumbnailAs we move into an age where “digital by default” becomes the maxim we live and work by, how do we ensure that we continue to deliver successful medical education programmes that not only meet the business needs of our clients but also the learning needs of the end-user?

The digital age is bringing about a shift in learning theory and practices. Learning is becoming more flexible, less formal and available on demand. At the same time, technology is driving change in the Medical Education industry. The expectations of both our clients and end-users are changing. Pharma clients want far-reaching educational programmes delivered on slimmer budgets. End-users want personalised learning delivered in the moment.

At Ogilvy Healthworld Med Ed, we are utilising the latest blended learning principles to design outcomes-based educational programmes that offer a mix of online digital and mobile self-paced learning and social learning to suit learning requirements.

Five tips to deliver simple, focused and blended learning:

1. Mind the gap

Do your homework and ensure both the client’s business needs and the end-user’s knowledge gap are fully understood (remember they might not be the same!). Ask yourself, what do end-users already know and what do they need to know?

2. Determine your metrics

Think about what a successful blended learning programme will look like and decide what metrics you would like to measure when the project is initiated. Data starts the conversation about effectiveness, so the more information captured regarding uptake, usability, content and functionality the more we can understand how the programme can be improved upon and how it should evolve

3. The evolving end-user experience

By focusing on the evolving learning needs of the end-user, we move away from a product-focused approach to a user-centric approach. Understand your end-user—how they learn, how they behave, what they want from a learning programme.

4. Personalise the learning experience

Blended learning is flexible and recognises that as individuals we all like to learn in different ways. Programmes should be designed to include audio, text and visual content to ensure that all learning styles are addressed and the user remains engaged.

5. When it comes to learning, less is more

When it comes to developing content for online learning, less is more. Unnecessary text and fancy interactivity for the sake of it overloads memory, detracting from comprehension. In traditional self-directed eLearning courses, simple techniques such as chunking information, bullet points and key messages can aid retention. Visually rich and engaging eLearning courses can be supplemented by resources such as slide compendiums or clinical papers to ensure the end-user can access all the information they need to support their learning.

As the digital age closes in, isn’t it time to move beyond traditional educational programmes and embrace the learning theory and technology that will allow us to deliver effective blended learning? Isn’t it time to evolve?

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