Shifting to High-Frequency/Low-Dose Learning in Healthcare: Best Practices

This blog post excerpts a HealthStream White Paper, “Retention & Mastery From Short, Repetitive Bursts: How High-Frequency/Low-Dose Learning Instills Competency and Confidence in the Workforce,” for which Greg Poland, Senior Product Manager, Learning and Development, HealthStream was interviewed by Tim Harnett, Research Manager, Chief Learning Officer Magazine.

Switching from a focus on completion to competency is essential in today’s workplace, shares Greg Poland, Senior Product Manager, Learning and Development, HealthStream. “From a high-level perspective, leadership needs to acknowledge the changing nature of the workforce. Companies, products and trainings all evolve. The new working generations are used to finding information for themselves at point of need. They don’t want to wait to learn. Training should reflect that. Once you get into the evolve mindset, examine your current content and see how it can be adapted for the high-frequency/low-dose learning way. While not all learning is suitable, some can be divided into different modules for easier digestion. The main thing is to identify the key components you want to address with high-frequency/low-dose learning.”

“Take health care, for example. Competency over completion carries magnitudes of importance due to the life-and-death situations employees face in that industry. When receiving CPR, you want someone that’s comfortable, competent and knows exactly what he or she is doing, versus someone who hasn’t had recent training. Someone who’s not in a maintenance of competency program, but instead has biannual certification training that may be coming up soon would likely not be as fresh on the techniques and might not be as competent, which can be potentially life threatening.”

“Many industries, including health care, are facing cutbacks, and saving money without sacrificing quality is crucial. High-frequency/low-dose learning helps save time and money in your training budget without sacrificing competency.”

Best Practices for Transitioning to High-Frequency/Low-Dose Learning

  1. Adapt Content (If Appropriate)

    For high-frequency/low-dose learning to succeed, content should fit the format. “Content should be suitable enough to be effectively broken down into segments that still provide value,” Poland says. “If there’s an hour-long training that you take every few months, breaking that down into five-minute increments might not provide value. But if it’s something you take for a number of hours or multiple days and you need to keep fresh in your mind, breaking the same training into 15- or 30-minute increments helps employees stay fresh and develops motor memory.”

  2. Prepare for Organizational Pushback

    “Senior leadership might not initially see the need for new training programs, especially if your organization already has legacy processes in place,” Poland says. “Organizations may feel the way they’ve always done things is fine; why change? But by demonstrating the benefit and showing how impactful high-frequency/low-dose learning can be in a short amount of time, those barriers quickly fall away and it almost goes full swing in the other direction.

  3. Assess Metrics

    Make sure your metrics are appropriate for both the content and your workplace culture. “KPIs are content-dependent,” Poland says. “However, high-frequency/low-dose learning allows you to focus on competency-based measurements, since you can test more frequently. With the continual feedback and progress tracking that technology provides, you can evaluate where employees are in the moment. Another strong KPI is confidence — through surveys you can see employees’ confidence about their ability to do their jobs. Employee productivity is another useful KPI to measure the impact of high-frequency/low-dose learning. With more frequent training comes an increase in fluency and more productivity as employees don’t need to spend time getting up to speed or rehashing material they’ve already learned.”

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April 1, 2021

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