Tuesday, March 10, 2009

E-learning Guidelines

I thought I would start this post with a little background......to give you some context and a way of explaining why I chose my quality issues and subsequently the particular e-learning guidelines.

I work in an environment where the patients are having elective or planned surgery. Usually, the patients are really well, have uneventful procedures and go home quickly to recuperate. Whilst we have a very high standard of nursing care and our nurses almost always get things just right, there are unfortunately occaisions where a problem develops..... as was the case when a patient made a complaint to the Health and Disability Commissioner about an aspect of care. Such action results in an investigation and the outcome often indicates that a change in practice is desirable or, at least a way of ensuring that the loop is closed for the future. The problem in my scenario related to the ongoing assessment of pressure areas...In general terms, you probably feel the need to wriggle every now and then or your bottom goes numb when you are on the computer too long......it's your body telling you to move.....now, in some circumstances the normal pathways telling you to move aren't working and it's our job to make sure we make you wriggle.....one way or the other!!!

Feedback from the HDC lead us down the path of auditing current practice, recommending some changes, implementing these and here's the biggie....we changed the tool we used to assess pressure areas. We implemented this change mainly by F2F sessions and did really well......however, we are a 24/7 service and there are a number of staff who haven't yet managed to get to a F2F session, and therefore haven't been taught how to use the new tool. So, (and here come the quality issues.....)

1. Is the topic suitable for an e-learning context?
2. Will that learning be applied in a practice environment in order to improve patient pressure area assessments?

We are also at the very beginning of our organisation's journey through the development of e-learning as an additional strategy for offering teaching and learning, so mindful of that, I am looking for a topic rather than a course that will act as the demonstration site for 'showing' how e-learning can be useful for us.......

How the guidelines may help:

3.1 Students/Learning Design SD7
Is there a defined process to follow that identifies the feasibility of and appropriate delivery modes for the course
2.3 Managers/Other support MO1
Can staff and students easily use the learning technologies and online resources

The short answer is 'no'.
So in this case, I would have to say that these guidelines remind me that I should go to the drawing board and look at all of the delivery options available here because whilst I might be a little gung-ho to get going on a project, this could well not be the right one. If I look at the characteristics of my remaining population for example, they are night staff and I would be asking them to use a new technology to learn a new assessment tool. Am I being realistic? There would be little or no helpdesk support over the night time. Is this fair or appropriate....sensible? However, rather than rule the project out at this stage, I also know that night staff have been great early adopters of our on-line library system. The way we rolled this out was by training the trainers....the duty managers learned how and supervised the others overnight.....this could also work here......

Furthermore, I am reminded of previous papers we have accomplished......and the fact that Salmon's (2002) model of on-line learning could be used to address the implementation of the e-version which ensures that the ability to use the technologies is addressed. Certainly, the topic would lend itself well to interactivity (believe me!) and this is supported by Mason and Rennie (2006) who suggest that interactivity has the potential to motivate and engage....the reason I suspect why the on-line library was so well received........

These guidlines are going to be very helpful in actually articulating the process that should/could be followed....as well as indicating the kinds of questions I would like to ask during formative evaluation stages.



  1. References....

    Mason, R., Rennie, F. ( 2006) E-learning: The Key Concepts New York: Routledge

    Salmon, G. (2002) E-tivities: The key to on-line learning London: Kogan Page

  2. Hi Sam
    I think this could be a really interesting project to evaluate. The fact that the night staff adapted well to the online library system, and the duty managers have already had experience in training the online library system is a big plus! And at the end of the day, what's the alternative?

    Will watch with interest to see you you go.


  3. Hi Michelle

    the topic sounds like it could be a great one for some kind of virtual learning environment, (in terms of delivery options), or a simulation type of experience (with the use of podcasts (videos) perhaps) of the 'process in real time', with perhaps some kind of session like an Elluminate one where the 'night staff' could connect with the tutor as needed?? or Peers working together to evaluate themselves, with the access to the online simulations/......not sure if I am on the right track but I think its a great challenge and one which sounds like it is suited to an elearning environment, but might not be an easy one to develop.


  4. Hello Sam this is another excellent post where you have put forward an interesting dilemma in your practice area, critiqued what is currently happening and linked this to possibilities for online learning and evaluation of same. Debra's idea of simulations is a great one. it would not take a lot of time to video someone using the assessment tool so people could see how it was done. A short video clip (loaded on Youtube if short - 10 min or bliptv if longer) accompanied by a way to check their understanding of the technique (self-assessment checklist they can print off), and a discussion forum where they could connect with other professionals for advice and comment could be very empowering.

    If you are worried about people's computer skills you could also make the resource available on DVD which they can view at home or in the library.

    It would also be useful for people who came to the f2f sessions because they will need to refresh their memories and technique many times I am sure.

    Your chosen guidelines are very appropriate. My question is will you have the eLearning resource ready in time for the evaluation project? If not you might want to consider conducting a needs analysis; the same guidelines would still be appropriate.