The online training and development space has seen substantial changes over the last five years. This has culminated in an environment of intense competition, high demand from learners and students, and an endless array of both practical and theoretical courses. It is an array of courses that many commentators had not thought possible as online courses were thought to be less suited to the practical training courses and degrees. One of the mainstays of the online education and training sectors at the moment is healthcare, and nursing courses have taken the internet by storm, proving that even the most practical of courses can be taught over the internet.
The online learning booms
While many of us may not have considered the power of online learning and teaching prior to the coronavirus pandemic, many sectors have been investing in e-learning for their staff and employees because they long understood the importance of this kind of development. Research has shown that organizations that invest in e-learning for their employees see more than a 40% increase in income. This is a significant return on investment.
The power of online learning, however, is easy to see in many sectors and beyond technical or soft skills required in business environments. Prior to the pandemic, the online education market was forecast to be worth $350 billion by 2025, and this means it reaches a diverse range of practical, university, and post-university level courses and learning.
Nursing courses have seen an increase of over 30% as more varied and diverse aspects of nursing are added to the array of courses available online. From general nursing to specialized family nurse practitioners and emergency nursing, it is all now available online and taught using a variety of techniques and methodologies to ensure that the practical aspect of the profession is not neglected.
Online training and education
While online learning has traditionally been viewed as most suitable for the tech field and areas of learning that require a great deal of reading and independent research, this is no longer the case, as more and more diverse sectors begin to see the value in online learning. Previously, more practical courses, such as medicine and nursing, were often not given the same attention as it was thought, and wrongly so, that these courses would not be done justice on an online course, based predominantly on the need for practical instruction.
Changes in online learning and restrictions due to the pandemic, however, have seen practical courses such as medicine and nursing harnessing the power of online technology. Whether it is using virtual reality for training surgeons or becoming an FNP in Oklahoma, it is all now possible. As long as you have access and connectivity, the possibilities are endless.
As a nurse, you also need to continue to update your nursing education credits through online training too. There are several HIPAA nursing compliance CE courses and OSHA BBP training that you can easily access online.
The new tech that allows for anything to be trained anywhere
The sector has seen huge growth, and in light of the changes made to education and specifically higher education during the pandemic, a majority of colleges and universities have decided to continue with a hybrid model of provision where there will be a mix of online and in-person teaching. Attitudes to online teaching have also shifted, with more professors and lecturers shifting their perspective of the value of online learning now than before the pandemic. There have also been shifts in how teaching takes place online and how technology can be harnessed to optimize learning.
Online education is here to stay, and no longer will it be only the MBA or reading for a history degree that will be possible. Technology has changed faster than any other aspect in the modern world, and as such, the methodologies for the delivery of training and instruction have also seen changes and adapted to suit the current context. This includes changing the way in which students interact with their professors, the way students interact with each other, and the way that class engagement is fostered in an online environment.
A key feature of the new online environment is that it is not only a tool for teaching students and those undertaking continuing education but is also a tool to teach the teachers. More university and college instructors and professors are now undertaking further development and training to take advantage of the tools they need to really optimize the online learning environment in their classes. As a result, many are planning to adopt a hybrid learning environment regardless of whether there are any restrictions on class attendance.
Changes to online learning
Some of the simple changes to ensuring that learning is optimized in the online environment do not rely on innovative technology, apps, or gadgets. Instead, they rely on getting the basics of education right. This includes, for example:
- Open education resources – These are freely available digital materials that can be shared and used across a range of experiences if they are published under an open license. As students were spending on average around $1500 on books and supplies in 2018-2019, the growth of open license material and resources is a massive game-changer in the learning environment. The rise of OER ensures an equality in the education sector that may not have been addressed before the growth of online learning, and it is expected to continue.
- Personalized online learning – This is key in ensuring that online learning keeps students motivated, less distracted, and feeling listened to. These were some of the challenges of the early days of online learning but using simple digital and online tools means being able to provide highly personalized, proactive, and positive interactions between students and their instructors. We have all become accustomed to personalizing our digital experience through apps, platforms, and social media, and there is no reason our online learning experience should be any different.
The future of online training may already be here
If the future of education is online learning or a hybrid version of it, then it is important to know and understand what the best of online learning can look like to be able to understand education. This means that while we can ensure simple techniques to promote learning, that harnessing the real power of online learning is about using the latest technology to promote excellence in learning.
Technology in education is not a new phenomenon, and the classroom or lecture theatre has always been a place for innovation, and this has been no exception. There are now more examples of using technology in innovative and interesting ways to ensure learning and development overcome the challenges that many students encountered. Here are just a few examples that are leading the way in online learning, and that can be used to promote active and positive learning experiences in subjects such as nursing, where the practical examples and procedures are vital:
· Teams, Zoom, Google Meet, and Skype
The meeting applications and software platforms that we have all become familiar with in the last 18 months will be synonymous with the future of training, especially for healthcare. Being able to have a joint meeting with all those involved in a client or patient’s care is now a vital part of the healthcare and proactive medical care process, and as such, it is a vital component of the online training process. Furthermore, it allows for the explanation and training of practical courses and techniques in real-time.
Key to the use of such platforms has not only been their ability to adapt to large numbers of users but also to keep adapting to the needs of the times. Towards the end of 2020, for example, Zoom had around 300 million daily meeting participants. This is a significant number, but when compared to the meager 10 million that it accommodated in December of the year before, there is recognition that it has learned to bring together more people in more innovative ways. And other meeting applications are doing the same. They also provide for some of the best practical training methodologies of our modern times.
· The chatbot and forums
Most of us are familiar with these for marketing and sales, and yet the immediate response available through a chat or online forum is able to solve many a training question. It allows for real-time discussion and the explanation of practical skills, and the transfer of such knowledge.
· Cloud computing
Sharing documents and training materials has never been easier and as seamless as it now is with cloud computing and infrastructure. This makes high specification training software available to all who have access without the users or students requiring top spec machines to run and use the software.
Online courses have changed and are becoming more universal in nature. This sector or aspect of education had for a long time been the preserve of highly theoretical courses and training while it was thought that the more practical courses were not suited to the online classroom. With improvements in the manner in which training courses have been designed and structured and the improvement specifically of infrastructure and technology, the online training and education space has changed. Practical/hands-on training courses and subjects can now just as easily be trained in real-time for a large number of students who are based anywhere in the country. Practical courses such as nursing and engineering have become more popular, and with these choices available, it is expected that the demand for courses will only increase.