A New Approach to Studying Health Care

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E-learning has impacted nearly all industries by lowering barriers to education for students and experienced professionals. In health care, e-learning has the potential to alleviate the nurse shortage and even encourage nurses to pursue advanced positions. E-learning’s benefits are supported by countless studies yet challenges still hinder widespread adoption of e-learning technology in health care.

To learn more, check out the infographic below created by Ohio University’s online Master of Science in Nursing.

How e-learning is poised to have a positive impact on the way students learn about the concept of health care.

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Chapter 1: E-Learning Industry Statistics

The global e-learning market is projected to reach $275.10 billion by 2022. According to Reuters, the market is growing thanks to several factors like low cost, easy accessibility, a better flexibility in learning, and a greater effectiveness with animated learning. At the same time, factors such as technology obsolescence, change management, and vendor-developer partnerships have slowed the concept’s growth.

Several forms of e-learning technologies and platforms are available in health care education. These tech innovations include podcasts, apps, videos, video games, wearable devise like Google Glass, and simulators such as virtual reality and augmented reality.

Medical simulations also offer their fair share of benefits. Some of these include the chance to engage in repetitive practice, partake in individual learning, and deploy multiple learning strategies.

Impact on Health Care

According to the Macy Foundation, to realize the benefits of e-learning, health care educators and professionals should ask themselves the several questions before they adopt education technology. For instance, it’s important for them to ask what preparation management or faculty needs to fully understand, evaluate, and implement technology. They also should ask how management or faculty plan to keep up with tech changes and updates. Finally, they need to answer how education technologies will serve to bridge the gap between the educational system and the evolving professional health care environment.

The technology may make it easy for students to track their educational growth in a unique fashion. According to a Nursing Times article, e-learning may help nurses see themselves progress from nursing student to qualified nurse in ways that face-to-face teaching can’t. Additionally, it’s thought that an e-learning environment encouraged introverted student nurses to participate and engage more than they would in traditional classroom settings. Student nurses also can develop skills in non-traditional methods of communication that will then be applied in the professional health care environment. Non-traditional methods can also help nurses grow in other ways beyond communication. According to Nursing Times, game-based learning activities create a safe learning environment where student progress can be rewarded.

E-learning also removes the geographic distance barrier and changes the methods of communication. For instance, student nurses may communicate via discussion boards, email, live forums, and blogs.

So far, it’s been determined that geriatrics is one area of study that’s been impacted by e-learning. For instance, the ElderQuest game teaches players how to conduct geriatric house calls.

Trends and Challenges

Progress and change are always accompanied by challenges that commonly test determination and focus.

Trend: Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

AR will be used for just-in-time learning about a specific technology or object. For instance, Fortune reports medical students are using Microsoft HoloLens AR technology to interact with a 3D representation of the human body.

VR, on the other hand, will be used for instructing high-risk tasks and complex procedures. Isobar’s Common Ground VR game, for instance, simulates visual disabilities to help individuals increase empathy and learn about the treatments necessary for the condition. Forbes also indicates that Kognito’s simulation game gives users the opportunity to fill a role talking to a child about addiction and mental illness.

Trend: Personalized Learning

According to the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, the educational path that’s customized to the student’s past experiences and educational level will create “more meaningful learning experiences with greater transfer and cognitive flexibility, which is especially important for future healthcare professionals and lifelong learning.”

Personalized learning will use learner data to customize the curriculum. This tactic will allow the student to learn at their own pace, receive extra help in certain areas, and learn in the format best for the students.

This trend has been deployed at the John Hopkins Department of Surgery. At the prestigious university, surgery residents received individualized feedback through an electronic scorecard that detailed their performance and compared it with that of other residents. Those struggling received one-on-one coaching.

Challenge: Investment of Time, Finance, and Resources

According to an article published by The Guardian, health care organizations are facing difficulties in adapting to and implementing e-learning technologies. With a shortage of nursing personnel in the U.S., health care organizations are under pressure to provide care, as opposed to training staff. As a result, health care pros may need to undertake training “off the clock” and on their own time.

Conclusion

E-learning, this new approach to studying health care, has found its way into classrooms, homes, and health care organizations. Students, faulty, and health care practitioners are benefitting from the open doors created by e-learning technologies. Graduate nursing students can look forward to an interactive learning experience in the classroom and continued learning throughout their professional nursing careers, thanks to e-learning.

Learn more about Ohio University’s online Master of Science in Nursing.