One of the fastest growing trends in education for professionals is online learning. The nursing profession isn’t exempt from this move away from traditional in-person instruction. And in many cases, online learning through a hospital’s learning management system (LMS) is a more convenient way of delivering information in real-time, ensuring your staff are up-to-date on significant policy or procedure updates or important clinical changes.
But you may wonder if LMS integration is really necessary for clinical education in your facility. The short answer? Yes. Learning management systems offer benefits that traditional classroom education just can’t provide, and it’s easier than ever to select a platform that fits your hospital’s unique needs and budget.
Traditionally, nursing education centered around live classroom discussion and demonstrations coupled with paper materials. Successful professional development meant taking nurses away from the bedside and requiring them to keep track of notes, handouts, and other materials given as part of the continuing education course.
And while an occasional in-service is a great way for staff to stay on top of changes to policies and procedures, it’s not the most effective way to educate your nurses. Assuming staff retains all the information presented at an in-service, there’s still tests to administer and correct. And keeping track of test results, so you know which nurses need additional training, can be next to impossible.
Enter the LMS. A learning management system is simply a online platform that delivers content quickly, allowing you to administer, track, and create reports based on training courses or events. Many hospitals already use LMS to onboard new nurses and offer continuing education curriculum to keep the entire workforce on top of their game. This method of e-learning is a great alternative to older content deliver methods, including in-person training. Learning management systems offer nurses flexibility and accessibility for their learning needs.
Even though live instruction is still helpful to learners, the benefits of LMS integration are too numerous to ignore. If you’re a clinical staff educator, expect your LMS to take some of the pressure off you, freeing up your time to select course content, plan for future educational opportunities, and motivate your nurses. Additionally, learning management systems may actually lower initial or ongoing education costs while allowing you to present information in a standardized, consistent manner.
For nurses, LMS offers greater convenience with information available 24/7. Many hospital systems offer LMS access through both internal and external ports, ensuring nurses are free to complete courses at their own pace, wherever they are. This leads to better information retention and understanding.
Because online platforms offer more content than standard textbooks, your staff have the ability to pick and choose additional resources that enhance their understanding of the subject material. And many LMS courses offer interactive tools like quizzes or interactions with virtual patients, reinforcing the material and improving the educational experience.
There are a lot of options for learning management systems, and choosing the best one for your facility can be overwhelming. But picking the right platform doesn’t have to be a chore. You’ll need to explore various features of different systems, like accessibility, flexibility, and integration with other hospital systems, before deciding to purchase a specific LMS.
In general, learning management systems are divided into three categories: free, open source, and proprietary systems. While free systems don’t cost anything, they often restrict the number of courses, students, or system functions that are available. Open source and proprietary platforms come with operating costs but generally feature more tools for greater numbers of courses and students.
Learning management systems are a great way to bring information to nurses without the hassle of in-person classroom education. This valuable tool helps your nurses stay current on clinical and administrative information while freeing up your time to plan the best course content for your audience.