Learning never stops for nurses, physicians and hospital support staff. Despite years of study and regimented training, constant technological and therapeutic evolutions make medicine an ever-changing practice. In this environment, to keep pace medical professionals must embrace lifelong learning. According to Dreyfus and Dreyfus1, there are five stages of learning that professionals go through in the course of their careers:
Figure 1 – Dreyfus’ 5 stages of skill acquisition
In her widely influential book, From Novice to Expert2, Patricia Benner applied Dreyfus’ 5 stages to a study on nursing learning, finding:
“Expertise develops when clinicians test and refine propositions, hypothesises and expectations in actual practice situations.”
It is clear that for nurses and physicians, learning is accelerated during hand-on experience, often informally and continuously throughout their career. While this has been known for decades, learning managers and training coordinators have lacked the tools to track, manage and improve these learning experiences. Until mobile technology came along.
Innovating learning with mobile training technology
Mobile learning tools (such as xapiapps) have a significant advantage over traditional learning tools (such as the LMS): location independence.
With the flexibility to fit in a pocket, training tools on mobile devices can be used in the field, while hands-on hospital care is being administered. This opens up a range of possibilities for hospital learning managers tasked with improving training:
• Accurate skills assessment: completing Observation Checklists in the heat of the action while nurses and physicians are giving care is the most accurate way of analysing skill levels (training simulation is great, but lacks the stress and pressure of real life situations)
• Data collection: using technology to track on-the-job skills can help you learn about employee skill levels and the quality of patient care. With performance data to hand, it becomes possible to identify;
- The individual skills gaps that exist within individuals and teams
- The training required to overcome skills gaps
- Benchmarks for patient care levels, by shift, team, location and more
- Team members performing below established benchmarks
- Team members out-performing benchmarks to use as role models
• Link training to performance: by using technology such as xapiapps, which utilises xAPI, it’s possible to link in-hospital skill performance data with training program data. Correlation of training delivery and skills performance can reveal the true worth of training. It can help prove training effectiveness, and pinpoint which form of training is most efficient in building skills
• Support informal learning: what if as a learning manager you could manage informal learning? With a tool such as xapiapps coaching, you can. Coach let’s you manage and track face-to-face coaching. You can institute coaching minimums, push out automated coaching tasks (based on skills gaps), gamify coaching by rewarding employees who coach and record their experiences and more
• Identify experts and leaders: inline with Dreyfus’ model of learning, by quantifying specific skill levels; you can develop experts within teams and departments for granular skill-sets. For example, your Observation Checklists of Fiona the physician shows she has exemplary skills in a particular treatment. Fiona can then be promoted to a ‘Coach’ to assist staff who lack the skills to deliver this treatment at a high level
In this post we’ve only scratched the surface of the potential uses of mobile technology in hospital learning practice. To get deeper into the rabbit hole, and learn how we see xAPI and xapiapps helping to improve medical care, download our free guide below.
1. Wheeler, Derek S., Hector R. Wong, and Thomas P. Shanley. Science and practice of pediatric critical care medicine. Springer, 2009
2. Benner, Patricia. "From novice to expert." Menlo Park (1984).