The value of moving to transformative learning for healthcare training

April 8, 2021
April 8, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it more imperative than ever for healthcare organizations to change how they use learning in support of improving outcomes. To begin with, organizations need to acknowledge that employees learn differently and also have different training needs. For example, some need to get credit for knowledge they already have, exempting them from repeating training they've already taken. They can test out of a basic level assignment and move on to a higher level. At heart, providers should embrace personalized learning. By adopting it, healthcare providers can acknowledge and incorporate the strengths of their staff. And at the same time, identify opportunities for them to advance through training. Rather than requiring healthcare educators to laboriously assign specific courses, automated systems can employ algorithms that adjust learning individually. One potential benefit is to shorten the time required for training, sometimes as much as 50% less than traditional approaches. in turn, this makes employees feel more valued, as they receive individualized attention.

How Transformative Healthcare Learning Works

To create transformative learning, the first thing you need is analytics to facilitate your assessment of where someone is in terms of training. You can then use that knowledge to develop a plan for helping someone become proficient in the skills required for the care they're providing. A side benefit is to reduce the time necessary to train someone to become competent. Even better, it can make everyone in healthcare more efficient and simultaneously inspire them to be more engaged with their work. Another benefit of transformative learning is to help healthcare organizations avoid unnecessary costs. Even if you are saving 15 minutes per trainee, over a large training cohort that can amount to significant time that can be devoted to care, rather than learning.

Approach Employee Training Like a Marathon

One way to envision healthcare training is like a marathon—everyone needs to go at a different pace, due to ability, training, capability, or experience. The same occurs in terms of learning. For example, experienced nurses and new clinicians have widely varying training needs. The latter group has learning needs far more substantial than people who've been in their jobs a long time. On top of that, how everyone trains is different. By employing learning analytics, healthcare educators can respond to these differences.

The Link to Healthcare Training Costs

An important focus for transforming training is to target significant training costs. For places where an organization spends a lot of training money, you could employ a pre assessment. In many cases that would allow seasoned staff members to test out of the training. Cost avoidance by eliminating training can be a big boost to any organization's bottom line, and at the same time it probably will make employees happier, supporting improved retention and engagement.

Improving Healthcare Includes Improving Healthcare Training

Ultimately, the current healthcare crisis is teaching us to be nimbler and to incorporate change more quickly. Most healthcare educators have long known that transactional learning doesn’t work that well. It’s not surprising or hard to understand, especially in cases where staff are assigned something, and really completing the assignment is more important than the knowledge received and the care outcomes they get to improve. This learning is something that's done to employees. On the other hand, transformative learning is really something an employee seeks out for him or herself. Transformative learning also allows a learning organization within healthcare to figure out what an employee values and wants for his or her career, and then target training to those interests. Most likely, this process will connect training back to productivity as well, allowing an employee to demonstrate retained knowledge and imposing greater efficiency on the entire healthcare learning process.

This blog post is based on HealthStream’s recorded webinar, Move from Transactional to Transformative Learning. Use the link above to download this 45-minute webinar with healthcare learning and development leaders as they discuss how transformative learning strategies impact employee engagement, leadership development, and retention.

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