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Chances are, when your organization implements a new electronic health record (EHR), face-to-face training is the primary training strategy used and is mandatory for all end users. We’ve all heard Epic’s pre-live policy of “No training. No access. No kidding.” After your organization is live, however, training strategies often change. Apart from new hire training, there is upgrade training, optimization training, and refresher training to consider. Converting face-to-face content to eLearning should be among your training strategy considerations for post-live EHR training.

Simply moving content such as PowerPoint presentations, videos, audios, and documents to a learning management system (LMS) does not count as converting a face-to-face course to an eLearning. That is only converting a traditional course to an electronic format. To successfully convert a traditional course (or part of a course) to an eLearning format, I recommend the following guidelines be considered:

  • Know your End Users and your EHR
    Before developing anything, take time to know your end users and your EHR. It is critical to know the expectations of your end users and what they hope to achieve by taking the eLearning course. Also, your course must teach end users how to use the version of the EHR they are using in their department. Foundation eLearnings that do not look or perform like your system is not helpful and always lead to stress and dissatisfaction.
  • Create a Template
    End users often take classes offered by multiple applications. One look/one feel of all eLearning classes will help end users focus and feel more secure and satisfied with the training as they take each course. Creating templates will also significantly reduce your eLearning course development time, which in turn reduces cost.
  • Give Them More
    Going beyond simple PowerPoint slides and EHR screenshots are important. Use animation, videos, and illustrations to demonstrate and make your point. It might be tempting to go overboard, so resist this, too. Keeping videos, audios, and graphics to a minimum keep the focus on the important content you want the end users to learn. It often helps to use other design elements such as stories, case studies, and real-life examples.
  • Let Them Practice
    It’s very important to let end users put their new knowledge into practice. This is often accomplished with simulation and quizzes.  Simulations provide an opportunity for end users to first watch a demonstration before giving them the opportunity to attempt the task themselves. Quizzes are a good way to check for understanding throughout the eLearning. To avoid frustration, feedback is often provided in the form of offering learners a second chance with a hint when the incorrect response is chosen. If they are still wrong, feedback is used to provide the correct answer with an explanation. Finally, a second test at the end of the eLearning course shows end users what they’ve learned and leaves them with a sense of accomplishment.
  • Chunk the Content
    Sometimes, parts of a face-to-face course will convert to eLearning while other parts will not. Chunking the content allows for converting some of the content to eLearning, reducing the total time end users spend in the classroom. It also prevents end users from feeling overwhelmed when the content is presented in bite-sized pieces.
  • Pilot, Implement and Collect Feedback
    It is critical to pilot test the entire eLearning course on a few representative end users. Pay careful attention to their constructive feedback and any errors they notice. Make all corrections and write a course manual that explains how to navigate through the course. Finally, always collect feedback when the course ends, asking learners how the course impacted them. (Did they enjoy the eLearning experience? Did they feel the course was valuable? Can they use the skills they learned?)

Converting traditional face-to-face training to an eLearning format can be a cost-effective training strategy for post-live EHR training. Following the guidelines presented here should decrease development time and increase end-user satisfaction, resulting in a win/win situation.

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