The Transformation in Professional Education

kevindonnelly (1)Education Models and Corporate Training

By Kevin Donnelly, CEO 4Medapproved

Over the past several years online education has experienced major growth and acceptance due to its capability to provide access to the most up to date relevant mHealthcontent and instruction, anytime and anyplace on your preferred device. What better industry then healthcare for this sort of capability, especially with the sea change over the past few years, with the massive uptake in EHRs, emergence of new payment models, changes in HIPAA, Meaningful Use and multiple standards and technologies. Printed materials in healthcare are obsolete in a short amount of time, and few have large blocks of time to dedicate to training and education. Plenty of studies have shown that attention spans are short especially for dense subjects, so in fact short blocks of time are the perfect approach, enabled by online learning. For those skeptics of online education, governments and Higher Education have provided validation to the effectiveness of this method as evidenced by studies and by their actions.

In 2009 the US Department of Education commissioned a large study of the effectiveness of online learning. In this study, which included meta-analysis of many adult and continuing education program, they concluded that, “On average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.” This is significant, especially for those of us who have grown up in a traditional classroom/lecture environment, in that online learning is better than conventional instruction, rather than the only thing available. In further analysis the study concluded that blended or hybrid models combining online with face to face proves even more effective than conventional methods.

Since 2009 the advent of social media, Web-based video, instant messaging and collaboration tools have further propelled the online learning juggernaut. Busy professionals can learn on their own time adapting to their busy schedules as opposed to leaving the office or hospital for a day or two to attend a bootcamp, meeting of other brick and mortar educational event. To further their learning experience they can then collaborate as a member of an interest group or network, such as the 4Medpronetwork or HealthITxChange, with other professionals who share their interest. These networks provide a forum to collaborate on the topics or questions that most interest them. Sounds way better than a speaker droning on about a topic addressing people at all different understanding levels. Students can help each other, form learning communities and learn in different and much more effective ways.

Many of the world’s most prestigious academic institutions have jumped on board. Stanford University lead an audacious experiment by providing a course on Artifical Intelligence online to anyone, for free. Over 160,000 students signed up from more than 190 countries. This was an early experiment in what has become known as MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses). A new company called Udacity was born out of this experiment, followed by Coursera from the likes of University of Chicago and University of Michigan, and edX from Harvard and MIT. The investment money is pouring in as Coursera alone has raised over $85M since April of 2012. While early MOOCs have targeted free education, the model is moving toward paid corporate training, where training has typically followed the conventional classroom format.

This article was originally published on 4Medapproved and is republished here with permission.