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Online learning: Observe, reflect, make

Online learning: Observe, reflect, make Q. How can I keep healthcare education engaging?

A. Have you ever sat through a tedious online course that was full of text-filled PowerPoint slides, with a person reading word for word what's on the slide? How much of that content do you remember?

At Pediatric Home Service, we work hard to create engaging education. Here are some of our best practices to keep nurses and families engaged.

Online clinical education

Our online courses have a lab component. The lab is completely hands-on because all of the pre-work is done online. To keep learners engaged online, we

  • Thoughtfully use animation and movement to keep learner's eyes active.
  • Show demonstration videos with real patients.
  • Incorporate meaningful interactivity. We use games, drag and drop activities, and real life scenarios. We allow learners to click on words for a definition and download handouts.
  • Give learners opportunities to engage online with discussion forums and live instructor video chats.
  • Divide the course into modules by sub-topic, and keep each module under 15 minutes.


  • Keep the length only as long as it needs to be and stick to the objective. It can be easy to lose learners by making videos unnecessarily long. We try to keep videos under five minutes if possible.
  • Film the videos with real people, if you can. We use mannequins if we have to, but if we're able to use a patient, we take it!
  • Plan ahead. We map out exactly what we want to show and say using a storyboard. This keeps the video professional and to the point.

Our education team incorporates The Loop, a design-thinking model we learned from IBM, to design engaging education. It's a continuous cycle of three parts: Observing, Reflecting, and Making. I invite you to check it out and apply it to your own practice!


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