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Published on:
September 1, 2022

Asynchronous Learning Improves Healthcare Worker Training 

The healthcare industry is vast, comprised of many different types of jobs and facilities that help keep our societies healthy. However, the industry has experienced some turmoil in recent years, and these challenges can be felt all over the world.

The effects of COVID-19 are evident across the country in the United States. Increased delays in receiving healthcare, including surgeries and general care are one impact, but another is an increase in chronic and episodic health conditions, as well as a population with increased mental health issues resulting from isolation and a suffering economy. It’s estimated the impact of COVID-19 will cost the US health system an additional $125 to 200 billion USD.

The United States has been experiencing a shortage of healthcare workers. This is due to a combination of factors that have been building since before the pandemic. In 2019 alone, the United States had 20,000 fewer doctors than what was required to meet the country's healthcare needs. This, combined with an aging healthcare workforce and the general population, spelled worker shortages for the US even before the pandemic started. Once it did, however, more healthcare workers quit due to exhaustion and burnout.

What this means is that new healthcare workers need to be trained quickly and efficiently, all while maintaining a high standard of quality. Perhaps this is why the healthcare industry has been increasing its use of LMS platforms to deliver training better, especially to younger generations of medical professionals.

After all, LMS platforms provide many benefits for training, including asynchronous learning — learning that can be done anytime, anywhere, and using any device (such as a smartphone, tablet, or computer).

Benefits of Asynchronous Learning for Healthcare

From more efficient training delivery to cost savings, there are many benefits of asynchronous learning for the healthcare industry, including:

Time and Location Flexibility and Accessibility

Healthcare professionals are busy. Depending on their role, they may work at multiple healthcare facilities, be out in the field (e.g., paramedics) or otherwise be away from their office for multiple days. Being away so much can make it difficult and inconvenient to attend classroom or instructor-led online training sessions. 

That’s where eLearning comes in. Courses and material can be designed to be delivered in a convenient way to busy professionals, through techniques such as:

  • Micro learning, which is a content creation technique that breaks long-form content into small, bite-sized chunks that take only a few minutes to consume
  • mobile learning, which refers to the ability to use the LMS seamlessly on a smartphone or tablet

These two go hand-in-hand, as busy healthcare professionals can read a short PDF or take a quick quiz on their phone when they have a spare minute, or just want to take a few minutes to focus on something other than paperwork.

Healthcare facilities often need training solutions for employees in multiple different areas. While instructor-led training through a healthcare LMS is one option, it still requires employees within different timezones, and with different work schedules, to adjust their day to attend training sessions. With asynchronous learning activities, employees can take training according to their schedules, increasing convenience and giving them more autonomy when it comes to training. 

Lower Training Costs And Time Commitment

When compared to traditional classroom-based training, the benefits of using an asynchronous learning LMS become evident — a study by Brandon Hall Group says that eLearning courses take 40-60% less time to complete than classroom training.

When you also consider that asynchronous learning activities are also much more cost-effective than classroom training, since they don’t require you to rent out classroom space or pay for travel costs, then the choice becomes even more clear. 

Self-Directed And Self-Paced Learning By Enabling Learner-Centered Activities

One big benefit of asynchronous learning activities is that they are self-directed and self-paced, meaning that employees can take advantage of training without disrupting their workflow. 

At the same time, access to training materials for certain employees can be curated in advance with user groups, ensuring that groups of employees are only served content that is relevant to them. For example, pharmacists and assistants could access courses and information on drugs and other medicines. At the same time, an orderly would instead have access to courses on safely transporting patients, using different patient transport equipment (e.g. beds, wheelchairs), etc.

Collaborative Learning Environment

Teams and groups working together to expand their knowledge by sharing their ideas, experiences, and more have proven to be very beneficial in healthcare. Since eLearning is mainly a solo activity, you might not think there are many opportunities for collaborative learning. However, collaboration can happen, even with asynchronous learning activities. 

Tovuti, for example, provides several built-in features that aim to promote collaboration. These features include:

  • Social profiles, which allow users to give themselves an avatar and write a short bio, so this information can be displayed throughout the Tovuti system (within communities, forums, comments, etc.)
  • Communities, which is basically a small social network within Tovuti, allowing users to break into groups, form discussions, and share images, video, and more with each other
  • Forums, which is a structured, searchable communication format where users can ask and answer questions, raise discussion topics, and more

Builds Universal Communities

Healthcare organizations, like other businesses, can have distributed teams, making it difficult to keep everyone connected and working together seamlessly. Besides keeping everyone connected, collaboration through eLearning has another benefit: building communities. 

Professionals within different teams have the opportunity to collaborate and get to know each other and build communities. This can be beneficial in a number of ways, including eliminating silos, injecting different perspectives into questions and answers, and helping employees feel like they are part of a team. It can also help facilitate an increased feeling of value and purpose while at work — something increasingly recognized as one of the things employees want the most out of their work environment.

Standardized Course Delivery

In healthcare, consistent and high-quality training is paramount. After all, healthcare professionals are dealing with human lives, so ensuring that everyone has access to the same standard of training is important to ensure a high level of patient care. 

With an asynchronous eLearning platform, staying consistent with content delivery is a breeze — courses are always delivered in the same way, with the same content, to any user that accesses them. This means that essential information is never missed and that learners are always taught in the same way, every single time. 

Allows Unlimited Access To eLearning Materials

Regardless of where a learner is, or even what device they are using (smartphone, computer, or tablet) they can access eLearning courses and materials anytime, anywhere through an asynchronous eLearning platform. This not only adds to the convenience of taking training, it also means that learners can access materials whenever they need to.

For instance, consider that a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist needs to remember a lot of information. Often, they’ll want to fact-check themselves or at the very least double-check that the information they have is correct before diagnosing, performing a medical procedure, or prescribing medication to a patient. With unlimited access to eLearning materials through an asynchronous learning platform, referencing information can be done quickly and easily. 

Private Access to Learning

While collaboration is great, training doesn’t always have to be a public event. Asynchronous courses can be scheduled for specific learners and displayed using personalized learner portals, which are private dashboards only accessible to the learner logged in to their account. Managers and supervisors can customize these portals, showing information like currently registered courses, courses in progress, and much more to provide a private and tailored learning experience.

Just-In-Time Learning

The concept of just-in-time learning, or JIT learning, refers to making needs-based information available as quickly as possible to learners. In other words, instead of employees having to take long, classroom-based training sessions, information is uploaded to an LMS and made available for employees immediately. 

In a healthcare setting, this could mean a plethora of things, such as:

  • New drug information
  • New ways of performing diagnostic testing
  • The latest research on a surgical procedure
  • New standards for performing a medical procedure

Workforce Training Monitoring

With asynchronous healthcare education facilitated through an LMS, performance, and compliance can be monitored directly through the system. Of course, compliance in the healthcare industry is extremely important to ensure consistent and quality patient care. This means that healthcare facilities need to ensure that their employees are fully trained according to their position and meet the requirements of local, state, and federal regulations. 

Using an LMS, asynchronous and synchronous learning can be monitored using features such as an analytics dashboard and report builder. Analytics gives you a high-level or granular overview of your organization's performance, including individual employees and teams. The report builder allows you to export this information to share with management and other stakeholders so they can also easily view performance.

Allows Knowledge To Be Updated And Maintained In A More Timely And Efficient Manner

With classroom-based training, curriculum updates can take time. Coordinating with different instructors, updating syllabuses, and changing course materials (especially if they need to be printed) can be time-consuming and costly.

One of the benefits of asynchronous learning is that it all takes place on an LMS, where any update made to courses or learning materials is made globally available immediately — meaning that learners will have immediate access to the new training once it’s been made live. 

LMS features like Tovuti’s built-in course authoring also take the hassle out of updating course material. Instead of exporting and importing new SCORM files, updates can be made directly to the course using the authoring tool. This means that for general course updates, there’s no need to reach out to a developer — it can easily be done by an administrator.

Differences Between Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning

Synchronous learning

Asynchronous learning

Live training, either in a classroom or online Self-directed learning that takes place online (or offline through a native application or software program)
The instructor can provide immediate feedback to learners Feedback is left via comments sent directly to the learner within the LMS, or by email, instant messaging, etc.
Online synchronous learning allows more people to be taught at one time, but they still need to access live training according to scheduled times Learning can be scaled up easily by adding more users to the LMS, without the need for more instructors or live training time slots
More structured, where the learner simply attends classes and follows instructions regarding assignments, tests, etc. Less structured, where the learner assumes more responsibility for keeping themselves on track with assignments, tests, etc.
Course material follows a set standard, but the delivery of said material can be different depending on the instructor, which may affect understanding in a positive or negative way depending on the student Course material is static, which means that the presentation doesn’t change based on the instructor and they way they convey information, which depending on the student, could be a positive or negative (having an instructor for some students may enhance understanding, while others may be able to interpret information themselves correctly)

The differences between synchronous and asynchronous learning have to do with two factors:

  1. Whether it’s a course or training session taught in real time or not
  2. Whether there is direct, instant contact between an instructor and learner

If the course is being taught in real-time, whether in a classroom or online environment, and the learner has instant contact with the instructor, then it’s a synchronous learning experience. If the course is self-directed and contact with the instructor is limited to email or messaging, then it’s an asynchronous learning experience.

Examples of asynchronous learning activities include:

  • Online eLearning courses
  • Quizzes and tests
  • Reading a PDF, PowerPoint, or other course material

Advantages of Asynchronous Learning for Healthcare Workers Training 

Asynchronous healthcare training for medical professionals can have many advantages, including:

Easier Certification Management

Ensuring that employees remain compliant with local, state, and federal laws surrounding certifications is a must, not only to prevent issues with litigation but also to ensure that patients are receiving a consistent standard of care from authorized individuals. 

Providing asynchronous healthcare training helps keep medical professionals up-to-date with their certifications. Some professionals may have to take in-person training to maintain certain types of certifications, like CPR, for example, but other training can be done through asynchronous learning activities exporting and importing through an LMS.

Certifications related to courses taken within the LMS can be tracked. This means that if a certification is expiring soon, an auto notification can be sent within the LMS and through email to remind the employee that they need to take a certain course or program to maintain their certification. 

Streamlines Onboarding

Effective and efficient onboarding are important for any business, but especially for healthcare facilities. Getting new employees ready to perform on-the-job tasks as quickly as possible while still ensuring that they are trained effectively means that more patients can be helped with less workflow interruption. 

Asynchronous learning activities are a great solution. For example, a new employee can complete courses on organizational policies and procedures without the guidance of a supervisor or manager, freeing up that senior employee’s time to perform job tasks instead. When the new employee does need the help of a more senior employee, the training will be more targeted and useful, rather than the senior employee focusing on information that could easily be taught through an eLearning course.

Improves Communication

Part of being an effective manager is providing feedback to employees. But when you have to send a new email or message about an employee’s performance on a course or assessment outside of the LMS, the context and expected actions conveyed in the message can quickly become lost in long threads and email chains.

With features like Tovuti’s ratings and comments, learners can not only rate the effectiveness of a course, but instructors and learners can also leave comments and feedback at the end of the lesson. This ensures that comments are always attached to the right course, providing much-needed context to feedback.

Makes Training More Efficient

There are several ways that an asynchronous learning platform makes training more efficient:

  • Allows training to be scaled up easily by adding more users to the LMS itself
  • Asynchronous eLearning courses can be completed 40-60% faster when compared to classroom training
  • Training can be accessed anytime and anywhere, as well as on any device

Asynchronous Learning Examples in Healthcare

How Tovuti Can be the Right Asynchronous Learning LMS for Your Organization

There are a few reasons why Tovuti stands out as a great asynchronous learning platform for your healthcare organization. Let’s go through the main reasons:

  1. We’ll customize the LMS to meet your needs. We understand that training needs can differ depending on whether your organization is a hospital, doctor’s office, long-term care facility, or senior center. Some learning management systems require the organization to adapt their training needs to fit within the confines of the LMS. With Tovuti, we’ll work with you to customize the LMS as much as possible to fit within your training needs instead of the other way around. 
  2. Our system is straightforward and easy to use. Busy healthcare professionals don’t have the time or energy to spend learning how to use a complicated LMS. While Tovuti’s LMS is feature-rich, it isn’t difficult to use, even for those who aren’t as technologically inclined.
  3. We have the secure access features that healthcare organizations need. Your LMS may include sensitive information that you only want certain employees to have access to, or you may just want to ensure that the right people have the right access level to the system. With Tovuti’s user groups and user permissions, the access level can be controlled granularly, meaning that you’ll always know who has access to what.
  4. The ability to augment your training with more courses. Through our integrated course content library, your organization can gain instant access to thousands of pre-built courses, which you can then white-label or add to existing lessons. This gives your staff the opportunity to hone their skills and gain new ones, all within the Tovuti LMS.

Summary

It’s no secret that the healthcare industry around the world are experiencing big changes. Staff shortages combined with both an aging professional workforce and population are major contributing factors negatively impacting this industry.

To train newcomers to the healthcare industry faster and more effectively, healthcare organizations are increasingly looking to online training options — including asynchronous eLearning — as a potential solution. 

Asynchronous learning platforms like Tovuti offer the following benefits for the healthcare industry:

  1. Flexibility with time and location when it comes to healthcare workers receiving training
  2. Lower training costs and time needed for training
  3. More self-directed and self-paced learning opportunities for healthcare workers
  4. More collaborative learning environments with distributed teams
  5. Community building for more effective learning outcomes
  6. Standardized courses
  7. Unlimited access to eLearning material
  8. Private access to learning in contrast to a classroom environment 
  9. Just-in-time learning allows the most current information to be made available quickly
  10. The ability to monitor performance and certifications
  11. The ability to easily update and maintain courses and learning materials

If you’re looking for a training solution for your healthcare organization, look no further than Tovuti. With our easy-to-use, feature-rich system, you’ll be able to provide effective training for every employee quickly and easily. Talk to us today to get started!

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