A new study reports a healthy uptick in eLearning in the healthcare industry.
By Steve Vogeltanz
According to global eLearning services firm viaLearning’s latest healthcare survey, eLearning technologies are key to enhancing initial and ongoing education and development needs in the healthcare industry. viaLearning’s pool of survey takers are a mix of learning and development professionals from both medium and large healthcare organizations. Their training and development needs are split equally among the following areas: clinical, new employee orientation, systems and/or process, compliance/regulatory, wellness programs, and cultural competency/diversity training.
The study reveals some paradigm shifts. The approaches to training in the healthcare industry are expanding. While 95 percent of learning and development professionals use instructor-led training, 78 percent are utilizing online/web-based training. Making headway among organizations is virtual instructor-led training (35 percent), social techniques (30 percent), game-based learning (20 percent), and mobile training (17 percent).
When asked what technologies will be integrated into their 2012/2013 training programs, 43 percent of respondents revealed online/web-based approaches were an initiative as well as virtual instructor-led training (26 percent). Thirteen percent plan on incorporating mobile learning and 9 percent are considering social learning some time during the next two years.
“The results of our survey point to the value and use of eLearning technologies bring to healthcare organizations,” says Julie Brink, director of viaLearning. “The pace of change and the ongoing education requirements make continuous learning a necessity for healthcare organizations”.
In fact, evidence shows that education via eLearning improves knowledge and skills. It’s the perfect way for learning and development professionals to meet the critical challenge of new technologies (i.e., electronic health records), advance patient safety, reduce medical errors, improve medical outcomes, and enhance office efficiencies.
Training Tools and Technologies
Most learning and development professionals make use of an intranet, followed by use of the Internet. However, video and telephone conferencing is gaining ground as an educational tool with nearly 70 percent of respondents revealing it’s in their training arsenal.
Mobile learning has the potential to take off this year. According to market research firm IDC, 17 million tablets sold in 2010 and they forecast that another 44 million will sell this year. Mobile learning acceptance has been a bit slow, with only 13 percent participant in a program. But its on the move—48 percent have plans to use in the future.
Biggest Roadblocks to Training
Thirty-six percent of healthcare learning and development professionals say limited budgets is one of the greatest challenges they face. (Of the survey takers, 39 percent work with an annual budget under $50,000 and nearly 5 percent report budgets of more than $200,000 annually.) Sufficient time is also an issue. Thirty-two percent note that it’s difficult finding the time to train everyone.
Twenty-six percent of healthcare learning and development professionals point to keeping up with compliance and program changes as a main challenge of delivering training. Twenty-two percent say the main challenges are improving time-to-competency and increasing learner adoption.
viaLearning’s study indicates that healthcare organizations will face some challenges when it comes to training their staff. The learning arena has expanded greatly over the last few years, providing companies with different avenues and opportunities to ensure their employees are compliant with business functions and industry regulations.
With more than 20 years experience in technology-enabled markets, Steve Vogeltanz is VP of viaLanguage and is responsible for viaLanguage’s healthcare division.