Balancing Mentorship And eLearning In A Digital Age

Have you ever started a new job and felt like you were just thrown into the deep end to either sink or swim? If so, you aren’t alone. Here, we’ll take a look at the problems facing those in the process of acclimating, before examining one of the best ways to help these newcomers: Balancing mentorship and eLearning.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

8 Tips To Design A Corporate Wellness Program With eLearning

How To Design A Corporate Wellness Program With eLearning 

So your employees have new-year fitness goals – and you really want to support them. However, your company doesn't have the budget to subsidize a monthly gym membership for every staff member.

Don't sweat it too much – there's a bit of eLearning for that. With a minimal financial investment, you can develop a corporate wellness program for your business that relies primarily on the gems of the internet.

It's true: More and more companies are adopting eLearning solutions to school employees in a variety of areas. Why not use this digital framework to design your corporate wellness program, too?

Here are 8 tips on how to promote your employees’ health online, without breaking the bank.

  1. Offer online courses.
    For up to $100 per course, you can enroll your staffers in one of many corporate wellness training programs available on sites like OpenSesame. Your employees can choose from a wide range of course topics, including inspiration and motivation, rest and rejuvenation, smart eating and stress management. For example, one course, called Body Fuel, teaches workers how their daily diet and movement habits affect their performance on the job. Employees who complete the course can learn how to increase productivity, improve communication and lead healthier lifestyles.
  2. Use Health Management software.
    Consider subscribing your employees to online health services like Sonic Boom Wellness or Keas Health Management. These corporate wellness platforms, which promote themselves as health-optimization companies, give your staff members the opportunity to track their health and fitness goals and download reports of their progress – all from their smartphones or computers. The programs also encourage active participation in healthy-living activities with rewards such as online points that your employees can exchange for cash, once they've reached a specific target. Users can also enroll in a specific challenge of the day – and they'll gain extra points for completing it daily.
  3. Schedule a webinar.
    Hosting a webinar can be a really effective way to reach a large audience –like your entire office base– for a small cost. Online services like WellSteps offer short, specialized webinars on wellness topics such as fitness, nutrition, and goal setting presented by a variety of wellness experts. The last WellSteps webinar was January 29 and involved an interview with Dr. Dee Edington, workplace wellness professional and professor emeritus from the University of Michigan Health Management Research Center. He spoke about his new book, “Shared Values – Shared Results”, which conveniently discusses the research and science behind corporate wellness. The slides and recording of the webinar are both available.
  4. Create an online cookbook.
    You don't have to create the software – that's what sites like Blurb and Living Cookbook are for. These services make it easy for you to launch a corporate wellness program by setting up a virtual recipe book for your employees. Your workers can download healthy recipes, manage their grocery lists, and quickly look up the nutrition statistics of their meals. They can even make use of an online calendar that lets them drag and drop recipes to specific dates, and receive reminders of what healthy dish they intend to make on which day.
  5. Fund a Fitbit.
    Your employees can track more than just their eating behavior – how about their fitness and sleep? Fitness Corporate Wellness offers products that can do just that. The Fitbit One Wireless Activity + Sleep Tracker, which users wear on their wrists, tracks steps, floors climbed, distance, and calories during the day, as well as sleep and wake patterns during the night. The Fitbit gadgets are water-resistant and have the ability to sync wirelessly with computers and smartphones. They're also less than $100 each, which makes them a relatively inexpensive investment when you consider you're investing in your workplace wellness.
  6. Cure bad habits.
    One of the biggest threats to your employees' health might be smoking – after all, it can lead to cancer, heart disease, and chronic respiratory disorders. Consider using technology to encourage the office to quit. Smokefree.gov, for example, offers virtual quit coaches and quit plans for people willing to stop smoking or chewing tobacco. Your employees can sign up for smokefreeTXT, a service that sends encouragement, tips and advice via text message, or download the quitSTART app, which provides inspiration, lets users track their progress and distracts them from cravings with games and challenges. Best of all, it's totally free.
  7. Pump up the jam.
    Studies show music improves mood and, ultimately, quality of life. That improvement can lead to an increase in productivity and creativity in the office. In addition, background music in the workplace can result in fewer accidents, improved alertness and greater team interaction. Why not go online and download some tunes for your employees' health and wellness? You can visit YouTube for a few samples of office background music. Just be sure to play it at an ambient noise level – if it's too loud, it could actually be distracting.
  8. Create a library.
    Your company has more than enough storage space on its online network, so consider creating a folder that contains a library of resources on health and wellness topics. Your healthcare provider may even already have a wellness library available for you to share. Whenever your employees need a little encouragement –or just want to see what science says about some fitness or nutrition tidbit– they can use their break to poke around for the latest in health information. You don't have to write the resources yourself, of course. You can download plenty of fitness and nutrition articles from sites like Everyday Health and FitDay. The information is out there, and it's totally free.

New Year, New Yield 

Many of the nation's top-rated companies have already implemented a corporate wellness plan, and now it's your turn. You can do it all with a little help from the internet.

Turn just a few ideas into action and you can make your employees happier and healthier this year. Remember, happy and healthy employees equal a happy and healthy business.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Surgical Simulation Training: Is Virtual Reality The Future Of Surgical Training?

What Is Surgical Simulation Training? 

Surgical training is essential for maintaining quality patient outcomes and ensuring surgeons can perform routine and complex procedures. Standard education and training activities are a normal part of a surgeon’s continuing education; but as this training is both time and cost intensive, practitioners searching for robust supplementary models are turning to virtual reality surgical training.

Virtual reality simulated training can teach basic skills to surgeons by using a computer generated environment to improve their efficacy at performing procedures like laparoscopic surgery. These tools are then used to evaluate a surgeon’s competencies for performing specific tasks.

Let’s take a closer look at what it means to adopt surgical simulation training and education for practitioners.

Surgical simulation training uses a computer software program to train surgeons through video simulation drills. Surgical training fosters growth in cognitive, technical, and clinical aptitudes. Simulation helps to offer standardization of skill competencies and educational and training requirements for surgeons or surgical residents. Simulation developers consider costs, computing power, fidelity, and real time response in the creation of their products.

The costs of the simulation training range from 5 to 200 thousand dollars depending on the complexity of the training module and the software requirements. Although there is evidence that this type of training will reduce the reliance on cadavers and other expensive training methodologies, it hasn’t yet been proven to be better than these traditional methods.

One example of surgical simulation training deficiency is that the simulator cannot prepare practitioners for handling surgical smoke. Since the environment is simulated, smoke cannot be produced. As the technology develops these innovations may change and improve to integrate important safety conditions like surgical smoke into the training simulation.

Benefits Of Using Surgical Simulation

Even though surgical simulation training has not been proven to be better than other training methodologies, there are a number of benefits to using these simulation tools. Most notably, they have been shown to enhance patient outcomes.

In one study of 16 surgical residents, the use of virtual training decreased errors during gallbladder surgery. Residents who were not trained using simulation were five times more likely to injure the gallbladder, while the mean errors for the simulation-trained group were six times less likely to occur. The use of virtual simulation improved the overall outcome for the patient.

The use of virtual simulation also improved the time required to perform procedures for those who were trained. In the study referenced above, residents who were trained using the simulation model dissected the gallbladder 29 percent faster than those who did not receive simulation training.

Surgeons are also beginning to understand how surgical simulation can be useful in their learning and how this video-game-like experience can offer students a “test drive” of the body.

“It's just amazing to see every little opening in the skull where a nerve goes through”, says Dr. Neil Martin, chairman of University of California Los Angeles’ department of neurosurgery. “On the image, I can see the carotid artery going through the margin of the tumor. [...] Rather than have that all of a sudden appear as I'm removing tumor, I'll know exactly when I'm going to encounter it”, Martin continues. “That is a big improvement.”

Pilots often fly simulated trips to aid in their training and multiple industries have used virtual reality. Now its prowess and effectiveness for healthcare practitioners is being touted.

How Surgical Simulation Will Change Education

Surgical simulation training will likely change several areas of surgical training and education. Surgical training has typically followed an apprenticeship model, in which a surgeon follows a more senior surgeon to watch and learn how the surgeon handles their work.

The introduction of virtual simulators may change how a training surgeon learns to perform surgery, as the use of these modules creates a standardized framework that could be applied to surgeons who are trained and who practice.

For now, surgical simulators are often used as supplementary training experiences rather than primary training tools. Some studies have indicated that the use of this training in laparoscopy in particular helped to reduce suture times and increase surgeon accuracy. However, using the model alone may not provide socialization and other skills needed to function in the surgical environment.

Surgical simulation training and education is an exciting technological development with a lot of promise.

Developers will continue to improve and create better and more enhanced surgical simulation training modules as technology advances are achieved. Healthcare organizations and physicians will likely continue to use this tool as an enhancement to the educational process. Future research will reveal how these models impact surgical training and how they compare to other training and education modules.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Online Personal Training: The Future Of Fitness?

What Is Online Personal Training? 

Online personal training might vary from site to site or trainer to trainer. Generally, though, it’s just as it sounds. Users are given a personalized training program to perform in the comfort of their own homes, gyms, hotel rooms, etc., without the supervision of a trainer.

For some, this can be a deal breaker. A major selling point of personal training is the personal attention, after all. However, there are plenty of benefits of online personal training, including convenience and cost, which explain why it has taken off.

Why Is It So Popular? 

It’s easy to guess at least one of the reasons why online personal training has become very popular: It’s extremely convenient.

Rather than schedule an hour with a trainer, say, a week in advance, a client can log on and start the workouts when he or she has time. This makes it ideal for someone on the go, whether they’re a businesswoman who travels 75 percent of the time or a stay-at-home dad who can sneak in an hour while the kids nap.

It’s also great for those with an aversion to working out at the local gym. A personalized session in private provides all of the benefits without having to actually go anywhere.

Eliminate The Guesswork Of Whom You’ll Train With 

Online personal training takes the guesswork out of choosing a trainer, too. It’s possible to find reviews of a personal trainer at the local gym, or a friend could recommend a great trainer he or she worked with.

However, it’ll be much easier to find online reviews of trainers who maintain an online business; where else would their clients go to provide feedback? Good reviews can give potential clients peace of mind before paying for a training package.

On that note, clients will most likely pay a lot less for online personal training sessions than they would for in-person sessions. That’s because trainers who are great at their job get attention and, therefore, a flood of wannabe clients. This drives their prices through the roof, and those with normal incomes simply can’t afford the new bottom line.

Online trainers can afford to charge less for their virtual services because their physical presence isn’t needed for the workout. This means their guidance is provided at a fraction of the price - the trainer can even dole out online services while also taking clients in person and charging more. That seems like a good deal for everyone involved.

That also explains why online training has renewed the passion for the business in many trainers. As much as its popularity has to do with the clients, online personal training has taken off because so many trainers want to get involved. In fact, the internet has made a career in personal training something that’s convenient to attain. Many reputable programs offer online certification courses, which would give a personal trainer the credentials to start their own online business.

Does Online Personal Training Have A Future?

The reasons above -and the many testimonies of those who train or are trained online- seem to show online personal training isn’t going anywhere. In fact, with the increasing popularity of cell phones, tablets and light-as-air laptops, it makes sense the rise of online personal training will continue.

Fortunately for trainers or clients who prefer in-person sessions to virtual ones, the gym-centric training session won’t be going anywhere, either.

In fact, the need for personal trainers is expected to continue to grow for the next several years, according to the Department of Labor.

What About Traditional Personal Training? 

The only thing trainers should expect of the future is their services won’t simply be devoted to in-person, one-on-one training. Because online personal training has provided clients with a way to slash prices, gyms will have to adapt to changes to remain competitive with their virtual competition.

That means some trainers will likely have to provide semi-private training sessions, in which they give members of a small group a personalized routine to perform while the trainer supervises everyone. They might have to lead group fitness sessions, too.

This is the role the personal trainer has always played, though. Adapting to plateaus, rises, and falls should be second nature. In the case of the fitness industry, whether online or in-person, there’s nowhere it’ll go besides up.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Top 5 Benefits Of eLearning In The Healthcare Industry

5 Advantages Of Using eLearning In The Healthcare Industry

The Healthcare industry is a serious one when it comes to helping patients recover from and prevent illnesses and diseases. The best way to help them is by learning as much as possible about the causes, symptoms, and prognoses of them. Since spending time in classrooms takes away from caring for patients, eLearning offers a beneficial way for healthcare professionals to stay abreast of the latest developments in diagnoses and treatments. The following are 5 additional benefits of eLearning in the Healthcare industry.

  1. eLearning Can Happen Anywhere.
    One of the reasons many healthcare professionals do not receive the continued education they need is because of the accessibility of it. After working all day, and for some all night, it can make it impossible to attend classes. Not to mention the unpredictable schedule. With eLearning, healthcare professionals can study in the office, at home, or even on the train. eLearning is mobile, which means it can be accessed with a laptop, tablet, or a smartphone as long as the user has an internet connection. Review the course materials anytime you need them, even print them out, and progress through the course wherever and whenever.
  2. It May Be More Effective Than Traditional Learning.
    Many people are skeptical about eLearning because it allows people to learn from wherever they want. This makes it seems as though it’s easy, or there isn’t as much information being delivered through this medium. In addition, some people believe eLearning takes away from the some of the discussion benefits that are often gained inside of a classroom setting. While these are good points, it seems as though they are not valid. A report commissioned by the World Health Organization finds that eLearning for healthcare professionals is just as or more effective than traditional learning environments. This is most likely due to the abundance of features that eLearning systems contain. They offer videos, audios, text, worksheets, and even discussion boards for users to come together and bring up ideas concerning the topics. This can take the place of the benefits of student interactions in a classroom setting.
  3. It’s Less Expensive Than Traditional Training Methods.
    The costs for traditional training methods are incredibly expensive. The trainer must be paid, and learning materials and the location where the training takes place can end up costing healthcare facilities thousands of dollars. Not to mention the lack of productivity that occurs when professionals must spend a day or more away from patient care. eLearning is much less expensive because there’s no need to pay a trainer. Learning materials are already possessed by users with a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. There is no need to reserve a training center, and professionals can learn whenever they are not caring for patients. This means that they end up keeping their productivity up, while getting the important education they need to provide quality care to their patients.
  4. It Provides A Resource.
    An eLearning system provides a database for healthcare professionals to turn to when they have questions. They may have remembered that they read something about the topic in one of the modules, but not remember the details of it. Within minutes, they can log into the system, go to the module and find the answers they need. Most eLearning systems also have search engines that can be used to find information. This can sometimes make the process of finding what is needed easier. Some healthcare facilities will add a section into their eLearning system with updates on any information users have already learned. Alternatively, they use it to let users know of important news concerning the facility. It turns into a type of message board, which makes using the eLearning system dual purpose.
  5. Conducive To All Types Of Learners.
    Some people are visual learners, while other learn best by reading or listening. eLearning systems include videos, images, audio files, and text to present information. This can be a great help to users who don’t learn well in classrooms because of the limiting nature of lectures with few images and videos. In addition, some learners need to take breaks often to absorb information, or they need to learn at a slower pace than others. With eLearning users can take their time learning the information. They don’t have to feel rushed and they also don’t have to wait for others when they are ready to move on to the next module. This can be a great help to the healthcare industry because learners need to be certain they are absorbing the information provided in training. If not, they increase the risk of not properly caring for patients because of the lack of accurate information.

As you can see, eLearning is a valuable option when it comes to continued education for healthcare professionals. As you’re thinking of how to best help your workers, consider an eLearning system. Once it is set up, it’s the best way to keep your medical staff educated, knowledgeable, and skilled to provide the best quality care to patients.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Creating An eLearning Incentives Program For Your Employees

How To Create An eLearning Incentives Program For Your Employees

eLearning is a powerful way to train your employees. The convenience, flexibility, and magnitude of possibilities that Learning Management Systems (LMS) provide can rocket employee productivity. However, while the knowledge employees gain should be motivating enough to continue using the Learning Management System, that’s not always the case. Employees derive motivation in many ways, and incentive programs can ensure users continue to take advantage of all the benefits from using the system.

Incentive programs provide Learning Management System users rewards for what they accomplish in the system. For example, for every module a user completes, they receive a tangible reward. Since rewards are based on how many people use the system, your employees will be more likely to use it as much as possible.

8 Types Of eLearning Incentives Programs 

There are many options for incentive programs available. Actually, incentive programs can be as creative as you would like them to be. The goal is the incentive or reward to be worthwhile. The following are some options you may want to implement into your Learning Management System.

  1. Shout outs.
    Employees love praise, especially in front of their co-workers. When users complete a lesson, send a shout out to them during a meeting or even via email or an interoffice communication system. This will not only motivate users receiving the praise, but also their co-workers who also wish to win acclaim.
  2. Flexible work hours.
    Working from home is one of office employees’ greatest wishes. If your Learning Management System is accessible from your employees’ homes, that might be an incentive you can provide to users. If employees complete a module early in a workday, they can come to the office later in that day. This means employees can relax in the morning completing their training on their couch.
  3. Financial rewards.
    You can pay your employees to take advantage of the eLearning course you’re providing. For every lesson or module users complete, they will receive a bonus in their paycheck. This can be highly motivating, especially during holidays like Christmas.
  4. Days off.
    Employees receive a certain number of days of paid leave, but it’s usually not enough. Additional paid days off for completing sections of the Learning Management System can quickly get users to work on their training.
  5. Gamifying the Learning Management System.
    A gamified Learning Management System can be fun for users. For every module users complete, they will receive a certain number of points – i.e. 10 points. For every 50 points a user receives, he/she will receive a gift card; an hour off work or some other incentive. You could keep a list of incentive rewards that employees can redeem their points for.
  6. Incentivizing a good cause.
    Collaborating to raise money for a good cause can be an incredibly motivating goal. Follow the example of Harrisburg agency WebpageFX, whose employees surpassed their goals in order to raise funds to build a school in rural Guatemala. They were so motivated that they managed to raise the $25,000 needed in just seven months!
  7. Allowing Dress-down Day.
    Employees often like to trade in their suits for slacks and a nice shirt. Those who need to complete training, you can allow to dress down the days they will be working on it. Since they will be in front of the computer all day instead of in front of customers, the difference in work attire shouldn’t affect the company’s image.
  8. Assigning titles.
    Before a new employee completes training, he/she could have a title of Sales Trainee. Upon completion of the Learning Management System training, the employee can have the title Sales Associate. As employees complete lessons in the Learning Management System, their titles can change to ones that gain more prestige. For example, someone can go from Sales Associate to Sales Specialist to Sales Manager.

How To Choose The Best eLearning Incentives Program For Your Employees 

Think about your office’s culture to decide what will be the best eLearning incentives program for your employees. The goal of this type of program is to motivate Learning Management System users to use the system. If the program doesn’t provide anything the employees want, it won’t work.

Many organizations work with their employees in creating the incentives program. They ask them for feedback on what would help them learn more from the Learning Management System. Employees are usually quick to provide their suggestions, because they truly do want to learn but find it difficult to absorb the information when there are so many distractions around them. Focus becomes easier when there is a reward dangling in front of them.

It’s also possible to combine incentives to create a program that encourages everyone to use the system. You may offer choices to employees when they complete a lesson; they may choose a day off, a gift card, or the option to dress down the next day. Providing employees with the ability to choose what kind of reward they want will also empower them, which can increase morale.

Increasing incentives as employees make their way through training can also be highly motivating. You may want to give users a $500 bonus upon completion of all the modules, but for each module they complete, users will receive a smaller reward.

Create an eLearning incentives program today; the faster you have an incentives program in place, the quicker you’ll see your employees log into the system to start using it. Get started with your eLearning incentives program today!

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.