April 19, 2015

Using interactive video for patient health education

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Click on the graphic to see the video

Along with thousands of other people over 65, I”m scheduled for a partial knee replacement this summer. As part of the excellent pre-operational education provided by Vancouver General Hospital, I was able to access a simple 3 minute video by my surgeon, Dr. Bas Masri, to demonstrate what is involved in the operation, using a model knee joint.

This is just part of a rapid escalation by health services in using e-learning to educate patients and potential patients.

For instance, a partnership between British Columbia’s Heart Failure Network, Cardiac Services BC and the Interior Health Agency has resulted in some very simple but effective videos for patients with heart problems. From the web site:

There are about 500,000 Canadians living with heart failure and 50,000 new patients being diagnosed each year. (Ross, Howlett and Arnold, 2006). Health failure is also one of the most expensive chronic diseases in BC with an annual estimated cost to the health care system of $590M. HF is also the most common cause of hospitalization of people over 65 years of age and has an average one-year mortality rate of 33% (Ross, Howlet, and Arnold, 2006). Accurate and timely diagnosis is critical to initiate treatment that will relieve HF symptoms, reduce hospitalizations, diminish costs and improve survival. A provincial strategy to improved HF services and care was developed in 2009 with Health Authorities commencing their implementation strategies in 2010.

“This project was driven by the recognition that patients discharged from hospital did not always access conventional supports available to help them learn to manage their condition,” said Marie Hawkins, Network Director of Cardiac Services. “We needed to find an alternate way to provide support that was both client friendly and easily accessible. These interactive videos help fill that gap.”

I anticipate that this type of informal learning will grow rapidly over the Internet, as governments realise that patient empowerment is not only good medicine, but also saves a great deal of money in the long run.

Vancouver showcase of online learning innovations available on video

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The Justice Institute of British Columbia and Vancouver Community College hosted an ‘online showcase’ on November 30, 2011, sponsored by the Metro Vancouver Educational Developers Network. Video recordings of each of the sessions are now available from the website.

Videos

The videos are bundled into 2 pages:

Parts 1-5:  http://www.jibc.ca/online-showcase-videos1

Parts 6-11:  http://www.jibc.ca/online-showcase-videos2

To look up a specific speaker,click here.

Comment

Once again, Tannis Morgan (JIBC) and Karen Belfer (Vancouver Community College) have pulled together a fascinating selection of innovative applications of online learning from the Greater Vancouver Lower Mainland. These kinds of presentations and sharing of experiences are extremely valuable in helping to raise the quality of online learning throughout the area through demonstration and sharing of what is possible.

This year the showcase focused on three quite different areas:

  • Mobile learning
  • Accessibility
  • Post-secondary and beyond

The showcase web site provides a good guide to what’s in the videos, and as there is almost five hours of video here, I can comment on only a small part. (Session descriptions are here)

There were extremely useful sessions for users of Moodle, both in terms of making Moodle more accessible, and making it mobile in user friendly ways (it should be noted that most of the BC post-secondary educational institutions are now using Moodle).

There was also a demonstration of how emergency services (fire, police, paramedics) are using iPads for integrating operational and ‘on-the-job training’ activities. (I was interested to learn that there is now a mobile app that will locate and alert the nearest available person in the area with CPR training and direct them to the scene of the heart attack.) Much of the material from the emergency services program at JIBC is available as OERs.

UBC has pulled together resource materials such as videos, archived samples, and graphics (some going back to 1986) to provide an integrated Virtual Soil Science web site that covers all 10 types of soil.

There were also sessions on teaching public speaking, and also cooking, online.

The student panel provided useful insights into what students liked and disliked about online learning.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend as I was at Online Educa Berlin at the same time. However, you can often learn just as much by staying at home, as long as you have people like Tannis and Karen to bring together all the local talent. Making it available as easily accessed video also spreads the word much further. So, if you have similar showcases in your area, please share them with us.

 

The African Health OER Network

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Mawayo, M. and Tlaka, M. (2011) The African Health OER Network, SAIDE Newsletter, Vol. 17, No. 5

A useful short description of the African Health OER Network.

The role of the Network is to:

  • Aggregate the results of multiple health education initiatives by collecting, classifying, indexing, and then actively distributing African-initiated resources with the global health community;
  • Facilitate discussion of how these resources can best be used;
  • Share best practices, e.g., OER production and advocacy;
  • Aggregate content to develop and deliver a critical mass of learning materials; and
  • Work through institutions and associations to advocate the principles of openness and of sharing educational materials. This includes helping institutions to create an enabling policy environment for OER production and use.

The African Health OER Network has a nice new web site, with nearly 300 resources for free downloading. About half are in the Public and Community Health area.

What is more important than grades?

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Photo of building

McMaster University Faculty of Medicine

In an earlier posting on the OECD’s PISA tests, there was some discussion about what was NOT measured in standardized tests of reading, science and math.

The Faculty of Medicine  at McMaster University, in industrial Hamilton, 65 kilometres south west of Toronto, has always been a leader in innovation in medical teaching, many years ago pioneering problem-based learning.

In yesterday’s Globe and Mail, there was an interesting article about a new online assessment of personal characteristics (CASPer = Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics) that is used for selecting students for admission to its medical school. CASPer is a computerized version of a previously face-to-face interviewing schedule called the Multiple Mini Interview developed by Professor Harold reiter at McMaster that is now used by 12 of the 17 Canadian medical schools. CASPer uses videoed scenarios to which students must quickly respond as part of a two hour test.

What jumped out at me is that now grades counted for only one third of a student’s admission score. CASPer is now weighted double the students’ grade point average.

What are these computerized tests measuring? Good decision-making, ethics, communication skills, cultural sensitivity, etc.

Now it should be noted that students still have to have the highest standard in grade point average to even get to be interviewed by CASPer, so it is already choosing from the very bright, but it is an interesting example of the importance of measuring students on a wide range of factors and not just test scores alone.

Bradshaw, J. (2010) Brains alone won’t get you into med school Globe and Mail, December 13, p. A11

Innovative e-learning in the Vancouver area

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I worry about the often negative tone of many of my posts. It was therefore a great pleasure to attend the joint Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) and Vancouver Community College (VCC) ‘Online showcase’ at JIBC in New Westminster, just south-east of the City of Vancouver, and see demonstrations of some great uses of e-learning for education and training.

The showcase provided an opportunity for local universities and colleges to demonstrate what they are doing regarding online learning. There were presentations from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, British Columbia Institute of Technology, University of British Columbia, JIBC, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and VCC. I wasn’t able to see all the presentations, so my apologies to those presenters that I missed.

JIBC: Emergency management

JIBC is a unique education and training institution, Canada’s leading public safety educator. It provides training for police, paramedics, prison staff, probation officers, and so forth. It is partly funded by a grant from the BC provincial government and student tuition fees, but most of its revenues comes from training contracts with its main clients. The JIBC offers a range of applied and academic programs that span the spectrum of safety – from prevention to response and recovery. The JIBC’s main campus is located in New Westminster, but regional campuses allow students to study closer to home. It has a long history of using technology for the content and delivery of its programs.

The JIBC’s Emergency Management Division offers over 50 courses in this area, covering topics such as Incident Command, Emergency Operations Centre, Exercise Design and more. The Winter Olympics in Vancouver provided a challenge in terms of emergency response preparation, involving over 20 municipalities, several local police forces and the RCMP, fire and ambulance services, the Canadian (and US) military, and a host of other agencies, depending on the nature of the eventual emergency.

Jerome Rodriguez and Rosamaria Fong gave a demonstration of the materials created not only for the formal courses in emergency management offered by JIBC, but also made publicly available over the Internet and through mobile technology, such as iPhones and iPads. These resources enable all services involved in emergency response to have common and shared information about procedures, contacts and terminology. Indeed, you can see these materials by logging in to My Emergency Management Resources. The mobile learning component was assisted by a grant of $130,000 for the Inukshuk Fund, but a condition was that the material must be open access.

The Emergency Division has created open access resources such as downloadable forms that need to be completed in emergency situations, short 2-3 minutes videos of the various functional units in an Incident Command System, interactive walk throughs of a virtual emergency scene (clicking on ‘bubbles’ around the scene describes the functions of each of the units represented by bubbles), and some short video news reels of accidents or incidents to be used in training exercises. Some of these materials can be repurposed – for instance, the fire in the virtual walk through below could be moved to a high rise building and the ‘bubbles’ reconfigured.

A virtual walk through of an emergency scene © JIBC, 2010

The Division also offers WCDM 2010 – an “Immersive Simulation Technology” Workshop. Although delivered in a classroom, the immersive simulations make use of technologies such as mock video newscasts, Blackberry messages, and plotting first responder movements into GIS-enabled smart-phones using Google Earth. None of these reseources replaces the formal training provided by the JIBC, but these are low-cost, open access materials that are now available for use by training organizations across North America.

JIBC: Corrections

The Corrections and Social Justice Division trains professionals who work with adult and youth offenders in institutional and community settings, to manage the risk they pose to the public. It also trains individuals who work with families going through separation and divorce.

Rob Chong emphasised in his presentation the importance of context in designing programs. Part of the mandate of his division is to train 500 probation officers and 1500 prison guards scattered across the province. To do this, the division uses a mix of online and face-to-face learning.

There are three elements to the courses: self-study, with learners interacting with Blackboard, JIBC’s LMS; guided learning, with learners interacting with an instructor; and cohort learning, with learners interacting with other learners. Learners generally access their materials in the workplace, in prisons and local probation offices.

One example he gave was of personal safety awareness training for probation officers. Short video clips are used of simulated/acted situations, and in a self-study mode, learners are asked for how they would respond to the situation. These posts are collected then the learners meet with their managers in local offices to discuss the scenarios. As well as Blackboard and video clips, 360 degree interactive images are used, so the whole context can be seen (for instance, the design of the reception area in a probation office to highlight security). Also used are Webinars via Adobe Connect, for instance for training in interview skills. The aim is to ensure that the design and delivery of the teaching matches the context in which the learning will take place.

UBC: Using social media in a formal course

ETEC 522: UBC

One of the courses in UBC’s fully online Master in Educational Technology is ETEC 522, Ventures in Learning Technology, taught by David Vogt and David Porter. To enable students to understand the success of entrepreneurial or intrapreneurial ventures involving learning technologies, the course provides an online immersion in global learning technologies products, services and initiatives in public and commercial domains. ETEC 522 is delivered from a venture and market analysis perspective, with a particular focus on emerging markets and real-world ventures. Jeff Miller, the instructional designer for the course, gave a presentation on ‘Creating coherence with social media.’

Quite apart from the subject matter, there are a number of innovative elements in this course. First, even though UBC is the home of WebCT, this course does not use a learning management system, but WordPress and MediaWiki, because the students as much as the instructors are creating content. Second, student’s ‘final’ work is public. Their final assignment is a multimedia ‘pitch’ for an e-learning product, service or business. These ‘pitches’ may take the form of slide or video presentations. Some of the videos can be found on YouTube. (Jeff made the interesting comment that ‘universities should be like kindergartens: students’ work should be posted on the wall.’). The ‘open’ part of the course can be seen here.

One of the challenges Jeff mentioned is drawing the line between open and closed aspects of the teaching. Although the ‘scholarship’ is public, non-registered viewers can ‘see but not touch’. The interaction between instructors and students is private; the finished work is made public. Another challenge  is archiving students’ work in a secure way while enabling it to be used by new students in the current  version of the course. For instance, the course makes use of students’ work in earlier versions of the course. (I will be writing a review of a new book on ‘Content management in E-Learning’, which looks in detail at the question of content management in e-learning.)

It is clear that moving away from a learning management system offers lots of opportunities for student engagement and student generated content, but there are also challenges in ensuring coherence and the management of their workload. This course is truly dynamic, changing each year, and continually pushing the frontiers of e-learning.

UBC: Designing online courses in science for non-science students

All UBC Arts students must take at least six credits in science as part of the Bachelor of Arts. This results in large classes for a limited number of online science courses. Most popular are the courses in Earth and Ocean Sciences, some with over 200 students per course section. Each course will have a senior instructor, usually a tenured faculty member, supported by up to four teaching assistants (usually graduate students).

The design challenge is to create science courses for students with little or poor numeracy and quantitative skills for large online classes. Chris Crowley, Josefina Rosado and Sunah Cho from UBC’s Office of Learning Technology described how they used Flash 3D images and animations within Web CT Vista to help students understand the scientific principles that explain coastal upwelling in oceans.

The senior instructor role was identified as facilitator, stimulator, monitor, subject specialist, and evaluator.

Despite the value of using interactive graphics and simulations to improve understanding, I had many questions, both about the policy (good intention but can you really train someone in science in two one semester courses?) and the design. For instance can you teach science without an understanding of and experience in experimental design?

Emily Carr University of Art and Design: Science 202

Jane Slemon offers an interesting online version of a course also offered on campus called: Heart, Mind Health: Learning from the Human Body. This course offers comprehensive understanding of the shape and function of the organs of the human body and invites creative consideration to the metaphors relative to the body that abound in culture, language and design. She showed some of the outstanding student work inspired by their understanding of human biology, reflected in metaphors of asthma, dyslexia, autism, HIV, and other areas of human suffering.

Vancouver Community College

Karen Belfer presented on VCC’s online automotive collision repair course for unqualified apprentices in the work force. (Fewer than 50% complete full-time apprenticeship training in BC, resulting in large numbers of unqualified tradespeople in the BC workforce.)  VCC used to offer this program over seven weeks on campus, requiring 30 hours a week of class attendance. This caused many problems for both apprentices (who often lost wages and unemployment insurance and would have to travel to Vancouver) and employers, who had to manage without staff during this period. The course, which is 80% theory and 20% practice/hands-on), was redesigned for study over 16 weeks online (mainly while learners were at work) and the last two weeks full-time on campus in Vancouver. Here they are tested in their practical skills, and assessed on their knowledge.

Although VCC used its Moodle LMS for this course, it found apprentices are not prepared for large amounts of reading, so efforts were made to the use industry standard online content with a high graphics, video and audio content, and to reduce the amount of text through the use of audio, video clips, graphics and cartoons, with a good deal of online interaction with materials, such as moving online objects. This hybrid course has proved to be very successful, bot with employers and learners.

Some reflections on the showcase

1. I find such ‘show and tell’ sessions extremely valuable. They reflect what people are actually doing now, and you need to see what has been created and how the program works to fully evaluate it. Such sessions are also extremely valuable for showing faculty and instructors what is possible using learning technologies. Unfortunately, there were not many instructors present during this showcase, most being instructional designers.

2. The session also emphasised the value of having learning material publicly available. Open resources provide a good indication of the quality of the course or program. I think all institutions now offering hybrid or fully online courses should have ‘sample’ resources of each course on their course web sites, so potential students can be better informed about the courses they are having to make decisions about. Also, the open educational resources in both the Emergency Response and ETEC 522 courses are very different from the very didactic and lengthy OER’s offered by MIT, Carnegie Mellon and the Open University, or from meta-tagged learning objects, and hence, in my humble view, are very much more re-usable.

3. In almost all the cases, the course designers were ‘stretching’ the functions of an LMS, or, in one case, going outside it altogether. Flash animations and short video clips were evident in several of the cases. Video now is cheap and easy to make, and adds considerable value to courses, particularly where process or procedures need to be demonstrated or where authenticity is required for training purposes. LMSs are still useful for helping students and instructors to organize learning, but they need increasingly to accommodate more multimedia functions. The main limitation of LMSs is that they require time-consuming adaptations or additions and specialist multimedia staff if students are to freely create and organize their multimedia learning. However, going without an LMS and relying entirely on web 2.0 tools presents challenges in enabling both students and instructors to manage their work within a formal course structure.

4. These cases showed a mix of approaches to the design of courses, and emphasised in particular the importance of designing for the context of learning. The diversity of learners’ needs, and the wide range of technologies now available, challenges the idea of ‘standardized’ course design, such as the traditional ‘ADDIE’ model of course design. The most innovative of the cases (Emergency Response training and ETEC 522) both used very dynamic, almost ‘on-the-fly’ course design, taking advantage of learning opportunities, new technologies and changing contexts as they arose. Interestingly, though, these courses still used project management and instructional designers.

5. The only thing missing for me in these cases was some formal evaluation of their success, partly because they were often work in progress. It could be argued that building in evaluation from the start would slow down innovation, but if the ‘system’ is to change, it will be really important to have good data and information about the success or otherwise of such projects.

I would like to end by congratulating Tannis Morgan (JIBC) and Karen Belfer for organizing this showcase. It’s made me much more optimistic about the future of e-learning heading into a new year. I believe that BC Campus has recorded the showcase, and if so, I will let you know how to access this when it is ready.

For other excellent posts (well, theirs are excellent) on this showcase see Tannis Morgan’s:

Showcase Wrapup – Extended LMS

Showcase Wrapup-Instructional Design

and Leva Lee’s Online Course Showcase