Let's be honest. It's kind of nice that the days of the 90-minute lecture are behind us. While those sessions did help us catch up on our sleep, they didn't necessarily accomplish their stated goal. Enter the world of online learning. No doubt a nice upgrade. But online learning can have its own set of challenges. While you might not fall asleep, whenever you have the internet open, all sorts of distractions are one click away. And you suddenly have a lot more control over the learning process, which means that your choices play a major role in how much you learn. But if the challenges are addressed correctly, the results can be tremendous. With that in mind, here are 10 practical tips to optimize e-learning in healthcare.
Given the independent nature of online learning, it can be important for you to set goals to stay on track. As you devise your schedule, make sure it is realistic and incorporates breaks. The point is to maximize the quality of your study time and not necessarily the quantity.
Embrace the Technology
Technology can at times seem intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. In fact, from the user side, technology can be pretty straightforward to navigate. Taking just a few minutes to explore a program, understanding what it can do, and making sure you are following the system requirements can go a long way. And while technology is a modern marvel, accepting the fact that occasional glitches can occur will provide the right mindset for using e-learning in healthcare.
Optimize Your Internet
In order to fully embrace technology, having a good internet connection is key. There is nothing worse than a slow or unreliable internet connection when you need a dependable one. Upgrading a WiFi router (or simply using a wired connection), changing a modem, or finding a new internet service provider can enhance the online experience. If this terminology is unfamiliar to you, simply ask someone in the know.
Find Dedicated Space
Creating a proper learning environment can be critical for intellectual growth, and this typically involves finding dedicated space. Not only will such space minimize distractions, but it can also be customized to your needs. This customization can limit eye strain, avoid ergonomic concerns, and allow for personalized touches like music (or just silence).
Take Advantage of Short Lessons
Many online learning tools have championed the concept of short lessons. By keeping each session concise, this format limits something called cognitive load, providing just the right amount of information that can actually be absorbed. The beauty of online learning is that even if your lessons have not been created in this way, you can break them up into shorter segments, resulting in the same positive effect.
Pause, Rewind, and Fast Forward
To limit cognitive load as above, you may find yourself using the pause button. And don't be afraid to rewind if you need to make sure you've fully grasped a concept. Alternatively, if you think you've mastered a topic, feel free to speed up a video or simply fast forward.
Flip the Classroom
If your online learning is a complement to an in-person course, take advantage of the flipped classroom model. In this model, knowledge transmission occurs in the home setting, typically before the in-person classroom experience. The classroom is then used for reinforcement, often via case discussions and group activities. The end result can be genuine comprehension of the subject matter.
Part of the fun of the learning process is engaging with other learners and your teachers. The online experience is no different, and participating in either a class forum or social media group can provide a great medium to exchange questions and ideas.
Go Old School
Even though you're using state-of-the-art technology, that doesn't mean that you can't use some tried and true tools, namely pen and paper. Sometimes the simple process of taking notes can enhance learning and your notes can provide a low-tech and uncomplicated way to summarize the topic at hand.
Take Care of Yourself
As with any type of learning, self-care is a prerequisite for getting results in the online world. Proper diet, adequate sleep, regular exercise, and the aforementioned breaks are key to elevating cerebral performance.
E-learning in healthcare has clearly revolutionized the educational process. When used effectively, the results can be outstanding. These online learning strategies should ultimately help you achieve something that we hold near and dear: success as a clinician.