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E Learning: Virtual support for hands on clinical skills
Authors: Thomas Heathcote
Paul Brophy
Institutions: Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - Clinical Education Team - Preston - United Kingdom
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - Blended Learning Team - Preston - United Kingdom
 
Summary of Work

The aim of this project was to explore how a blended approach at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust could enrich clinical skills teaching sessions.  Traditionally our teaching approach has followed a similar format to many other trusts:  Learners spending a few hours within the skills lab environment, sitting through a high proportion of presentation-based thoretical content before being able to apply this newly gleaned knowledge into simulated practice.

 

Using eLearning to enhance this process can appear to be a contraction, with virtual learning and real life skills appearing to be poles apart.  However, following analysis of our current learning processes, we identified two main themes by which a blended approach could enrich the learning experience.

 

Firstly, we looked at developing pre-course content to replace the majority of didactic theoretical teaching, being mindful not to simply replicate a classroom based presentation onto an eLearning platform.  Content was developed using the eLearning authoring software Articulate Storyline which allowed us to create a more interactive and engaging support resource.  Media developers within the Blended Learning team contributed largely to a highly immersive experience by creating interactive elements such as self paced video tutorials, including detailed summaries.

 

 

 

 and activities designed to test and enhanced learners knowledge with detailed feedback.

 

 

From the perspective of the learner, candidates can now access the theoretical content at a place and time that suits them and can proceed at their own pace.  This strategy also encourages learners to constantly engage in the learning process in a way that is suited to a wide range of auditory, visual and kinesthetic learning styles.

 

From the educators perspective, this allows subject knowledge to be assessed prior to attendance of classroom based teaching in the form of a post eLearning online assessment.  This has turned the classroom session on its head. For example - a 3 hour ECG study session can now consist of a short 20 minute theory recap followed by over two hours in which learners can record 12-lead ECGs on real life simulated patients.  In addition, clinical educators and experts from our cardio respiratory department have been keen to attend and advise learners during their hands on practice to provide further insight and promote high levels of clincal competence.

 

The second use of blended learning was to bring eLearning into the classroom.  In our Sepsis Awareness and Blood Cultures session for example, we identified that attendance numbers were lower in comparison to other clinical skill teaching and that creating a lesson which promoted discussion and interaction between candidates would provide a more valuble learning experience.

To achieve this we used an app called Nearpod.  This enables the educator to effectively broadcast a presentation through a variety of devices. Once logged onto the presentation, learners make their way through a variety of activities such as, multiple choice questions, polls, interactive 'draw it's'  and open text answers. The pace of the session is ultimately controlled by the   educator who has the ability to see instantly on their tablet how each learner is progressing through  the  content. This provides instant assessment for learning and enables the educator to tailor and adapt the session to suit the needs of varying groups and individuals.  

 

Conclusion

We have seen course attendance increase since beginning to roll out our blended learning approach at the beginning of 2015.  Learners are now attending sessions with a higher level of theoretical knowledge, allowing a greater focus on the practical element of teaching sessions, which our participants are responding to with a largely positive feedback.

 

Using both Nearpod and eLearning to check engagement and understanding, we have been able to target areas where knowledge may need reinforcement. In a face to face session we can address this instantly, allowing continual adaptation of session content to meet individual learners needs.

Using blended learning in the classroom has made the sessions much more inclusive. This fosters open discussion and participation, generating a positive atmosphere and an encouraging learning environment.

 

Some of our feedback:

 

"Interesting, practical and relevant"                             "Stimulating"

                     

                                           "Participative"                "Good  for interaction, learnt more, hands on"

                                                 

        "Practical experience"                           "Nice to be able to practice skills"                                          

             

  "Enjoyable - learnt a lot during this session"  

 

"Enjoyed using tablets and the practical session. It was better than watching a slideshow presentation"

 

"I liked the tablets, more interactive, I liked the questions and feel it works better than a slideshow presentation as the lecturer can be more involved"

                                                   

"Use of Nearpod made the sesion interactive"                                          "Great for the workforce"                                                                         

Summary of Results

In addition to learner feedback, our blended learning approach has also seen a dramatic increase in attendance numbers for clinical skills teaching.  Having already surpassed last years attendance totals in July this year and with subsequent clinical skills sessions continuing to be in high demand, we are projecting a total of 485 learners (currently 311) in comparrison with last years total of 260 learners attending clinical skills sessions - an 86.5% increase in uptake.

 

Acknowledgement

Thomas Heathcote - Clinical Practice Educator

Paul Brophy - eLearning Developer, Blended Learning Team

Chris Ellis - Clinical Practice Educator

Donna Peat - Clinical Practice Educator

Chris Fisher - Clinical Practice Educator

Adrian Hawtin - Media Developer, Blended Learning team

David Leech - Media Developer, Blended Learning team

Take-home Messages

In summary the pilot project aimed to explore how a blended learning approach may contribute to an enriched learning experience within clincal skills teaching.

By applying the two eLearning approaches discussed, we are able ensure learners attend clinical skills teaching, having already gained a comprehensive knowledge of the theoretical content surrounding a particular skill.  Whilst in classroom based teaching, this has allowed a smaller proportion of time focussed on theory - which has already been assessed - and a greater focus on clinical skill practice.

 

Classroom based teaching has also been transformed through the use of interactive presentation software to allow a more interactive experience where learners are encouraged to discuss and share ideas.  Both of these strategies have helped to enrich the quality of teaching and have shown a positive outcome in both learner feedback and increased attendance rates.

 

Whilst these results are encouraging, the project itself remains a work in progress.  Currently four of our clinical skills teaching sessions have incorporated a blended learning approach, with more areas currently under development.  Once fully established we will be able to provide a more comprehensive overview of the impact of the blended learning approach.

Summary of Work
Conclusion
Summary of Results
Acknowledgement
Take-home Messages
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