Plug-and-Play Learning Powers Performance in Healthcare

By LaVay Lauter

The talent development function faces significant challenges in the healthcare environment. Indeed, in my personal experience at four different healthcare systems, I have heard concerns about the value of traditional training, across multiple common denominators and themes central to the healthcare arena.

Case in point: People leaders often share with trainers that they can’t send their clinicians to traditional instructor-led programs because of budgetary and time constraints. For instance, new EMR implementations add time and resource burdens, making it necessary to find new training opportunities. Simply stated, healthcare providers feel burned-out, and don’t want to take additional time to their already busy work-day to engage in traditional learning experiences.

Some common complaints include:

  • There is, literally, no time for training. 
  • Training is not at the point of need but is some “future scheduled” topic that may not be relevant to a worker’s current issue or challenge.
  • The manager or people leader is not engaged with the training and development process; thus, she feels no accountability for results or behavioral change.

What’s more, in light of these concerns, talent development leaders recognize that healthcare faces an all-time high with regards to stress, disengagement, and low morale. While leaders and providers believe that there is no time for traditional training, they also recognize that employee engagement is suffering. In addition, those of us in talent development recognize that the manager-employee relationship is critical to driving a culture of engagement, which ultimately impacts patient care, and we believe these people leaders need to be leading employee development.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that there is a solution to these problems. Enter just-in-time training.

For starters, the talent development function can partner with healthcare leaders to pinpoint critical content areas. Next, instructional designers and learning managers can create ultra-quick, easy-to-launch, plug-and-play training that is delivered at the point of need. Then, this real-time toolkit of short modules (typically no more than 20 minutes in length) is uploaded to an internal website. After a debrief, managers can work with staff on how to self-select their individual topics and modules of choice. Additionally, when traditional programs are still necessary, these just-in-time tools serve as effective supplemental materials that support learning transfer and maintain engagement.

Bottom line: With this new learning strategy that meets workers at their point of need, the talent development function is considered a strategic partner—rather than viewed as driving an antiquated system of all-day programs that nurses, providers, and other clinicians don’t have time to attend.