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Adapting to Virtual Learning Environments in Healthcare Education

We’re fortunate, in some regard. With the experience that we now have, can you imagine going through a global pandemic without the digital infrastructure that we have today?

Over recent decades, telecom giants like Zoom and Skype have developed technology that allows us to meet face to face with entire groups, share screens, and even learn via digital environments. Healthcare education programs are no different. Armed with tools like webcams and 3D imaging, schools are able to provide the next-best-thing to hands-on training – something we might need to get used to.

While some higher education programs are well-suited, and prepared, for a challenge like quarantine, many career programs require hands-on training and in-person experience. On March 17, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) published a guide outlining best practices for safety in medical programs, strongly discouraging students and faculty from taking part in any direct patient contact. Overnight, schools were shifting curricula online and getting creative with substitutions for clinical exercises.

As we struggle to replace hands-on, interactive experience in education, most schools are able to float by on the shoulders of historical archives – a huge perk of our digital era. From internal lectures recorded over recent years to an entire world of readily available content on the internet, instructors and students alike are already equipped with all of the material (or access to) necessary to successfully make this transition.

By implementing a combination of modern technology and historical documentation, our country’s educational institutions have the tools necessary to make the transition to virtual learning environments – as bumpy as the road might be. Many schools have begun by rolling out the portion of curricula that is best suited for distance learning, often lectures and entry level courses, while formulating a strategy for replacing hands-on experience until it’s safe once again.

As we remain hopeful that normal studies return in the near future, we also must face the likely reality that parts of the education process, like many other facets of live, will simply never be the same. A strong silver lining exists in the collaboration and innovation bred by the adverse circumstance; we’re in this together and advancing at a rate we couldn’t have imagined just a few months ago.

Interested in a rewarding career in the field of Healthcare? Click here for more information on the medical programs offered at Northwestern College!