Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 11.16.04 AM This e-learning challenge from the E-Learning Heroes blog provided another great opportunity to showcase the power of e-learning software and it’s ability to transform static information into dynamic learning activities.  For this challenge I wanted to create an activity that demonstrated this type of transformation.  So naturally, I turned to my wife for help (more on that in a bit).

The more I talk to people about their training experiences at work the more it becomes apparent that there’s a proliferation of crummy training out there. It isn’t that the information is inaccurate or outdated (although this occurs more than you’d think); instead, it’s the manner–or context–in which it’s delivered.  Unfortunately for so many people, “e-learning” is an online powerpoint that they click through themselves.  But as every good instructional designer, trainer, or teacher knows–context is everything.  The wrapper (context) that we use to deliver information is just as important as the information itself. The wrapper is how we internalize the information, make sense of it, and remember it.

A great example of this is in the way this particular challenge played out.  I asked my wife (a pediatric RN) to give me a few examples of some basic CPR training for children.  The first thing she asked is, “What age?”.  I didn’t realize that the CPR ratio of compressions to breaths varied depending on age.  For example, neonatal CPR (brand new babies) uses a ratio of 3 compressions to 1 breath (3:1), while infant CPR uses a ratio of 15:2.  For you non-mathletes out there, that 3:1 ratio is equivalent to 15:5.  That’s 3 more breaths for every 15 compressions when dealing with brand new babies.  That’s a pretty significant (and potentially life changing) difference!

Thankfully, hands-on CPR certification is a requirement for medical professionals on an annual basis.  And there are certain types of training that currently cannot (and should not) be replicated in a virtual environment.  But that doesn’t mean that this type of learning activity wouldn’t benefit learners by serving as a bi-monthly refresher, or as a front loading activity before hands-on training.  Ideally in this situation, hands-on training is purely an exercise in recall and application rather than exposure and application. By creating a more engaging and meaningful context beforehand, the learner is far more likely to internalize the information and apply it correctly when it matters most.

(You can download the source file here)