Implementing professional development activities

By Alvin D. Jeffery, M. Anne Longo, and Angela Nienaber | 01/01/2016
 
This chapter from Staff Educator’s Guide to Professional Development explores the implementation step of the ADDIE model (Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate) and covers the who, what, when, where, and why of professional development activities.
 
 
Why is the activity necessary?
Nurses today face many knowledge gaps in providing safe and efficient patient care. With higher patient acuities, more complex chronic care populations, and new technology surfacing every day, one way to help nurses adapt seamlessly to new practices is to provide thoughtfully planned out education. This education needs to be supported with data and examples of how change can improve practice, patient outcomes, and patient safety.
 
Book cover of Staff Educator’s Guide to Professional Development Hopefully we have convinced you that using the ADDIE model as a guide for developing educational activities is a must. After examining the results (likely from multiple sources) in the Analysis phase, learning activities are designed and developed. The American Nurses Credentialing Center states that identifying learning needs through data collection is crucial to the preplanning of any learning activity (ANCC, 2014). The following steps demonstrate how the ANCC organizes this pre-implementation work:
  1. Review available data sources (qualitative and quantitative) that can assist in preparing the needs assessment.
  2. Conduct a needs assessment to identify the gap or verify a known gap in knowledge, skill, or attitude (behavior).
  3. Design and develop the learning activity based upon the results of the needs assessment.

Performing these steps consistently will not only lay a solid foundation for a successful learning activity, but also prepare you to share the rationale for the activity with learners and other stakeholders.

When a knowledge gap has been identified, staff educators must be sure to incorporate the rationale behind the need for education into the learning activity itself. Adult learners link knowledge with past experiences and are problem centered. As a result, in order for learners to “buy into” or integrate new knowledge into current practice, they must find value in the identified knowledge gap. By showing the data used to help identify the gap as part of the learning activity, the educator is providing the learners with rationale for why content was designed and developed to close the gap. The educator desires that the learner values the education in order to apply the new knowledge, skill, and attitude into daily practice. Ways to provide the rationale for education include:

  1. Use the data to market the upcoming activity. Disseminate the pre-education data findings, and the goal for post-education findings.
  2. Include pieces of data in the content itself.
  3. Demonstrate how the data is connected with patient outcomes.

Sometimes, the rationale for requiring learners to complete a learning activity is as simple as including a one-sentence statement with the activity’s announcement. For example, completing yearly Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Disaster Preparedness Review to meet The Joint Commission (TJC) requirements doesn’t necessitate a lengthy rationale because this is a requirement to maintain compliance with a regulatory body. The rationale could be as simple as “Complete for OSHA/TJC yearly required education/review.” Other times (especially if the activity is time-consuming or in other ways burdensome), you might need to describe the need to complete this activity as it relates to patient care. For example, if there is an issue on the unit with increased pressure ulcer rates, you could describe downward trends in a performance improvement monitor (like pressure ulcer prevention compliance) and how this affects patient outcomes.
 

DESCRIBING THE WHY OF A LEARNING ACTIVITY

 Let’s say you just asked learners to complete a newly developed learning activity for preventing pressure ulcers. In response, one of the experienced nurses in your area shows her resistance by making a comment like, “I have done at least a hundred education modules in my career on pressure ulcers, and I think I know how to do this by now.” Although there are a couple options for dealing with this scenario (including an assessment of the staff member’s attitude and the need to consider whether other work environment factors could be bothering this person), when it comes to explaining a rationale you could try the following statements:

  • If quality indicators had identified practice gaps—“If I could show you our pressure ulcer rates over the last few audits, you’ll see we have had an increase in trends. We are trying several interventions, and we want to be certain that all of our staff members are aware of the current policies and procedures on these interventions. Will you help us with these efforts?”
  • If staff interviews had identified that several nurses were unfamiliar with the guidelines—“We checked in with staff members in our most recent staff meeting, and there seemed to be a high level of concern regarding everyone’s comfort level with what is and isn’t found in the prevention guidelines. Although it seemed like the greatest concern was among those who haven’t been working in the unit a very long time, we weren’t sure where to make a cut-off of who should and shouldn’t complete the activity. If you feel pretty comfortable with the guidelines, would you be willing to help us out by serving as a unit resource for inexperienced staff members?”

One external source that highlights the importance of many learning activities is within the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) competencies. As many new nurse learners will be familiar with (and the experienced learners can begin to understand from where the millennials are gathering their ideas in academia), QSEN and another more recent initiative, the Campaign for Action, highlight the need for transforming healthcare delivery.

To illustrate how this helps with understanding the why of a learning activity, let’s say there is a need to provide a repeated learning activity for a documentation issue. Cronenwett et al. (2007) in Nursing Outlook is the basis for the work QSEN developed regarding the knowledge, skill, and attitudes the learner requires to document successfully. If you were to review the QSEN competency on informatics, for example, you would find informatics to be defined as using “information and technology to communicate, manage knowledge, mitigate error, and support decision making” (Cronenwett et al., 2007). The nursing professional would need to employ the following skills:

  • Navigate the electronic medical record (EMR).
  • Document and plan patient care in an EMR.
  • Employ communication technologies to coordinate care for patients.
  • Understand the EMR serves as the legal document of care provided.

For staff educators, reinforcing the knowledge nurse learners should already have is always an important piece of assisting them in integrating additional knowledge. For example, a learning activity is developed for a central venous catheter dressing change procedural guideline. By reinforcing each step of the dressing change procedure in the development of the learning activity, nurse learners can identify steps that they may have not been following during patient care and focus on incorporating these missed steps into their practice.

Check out Table 4.1 for a summary of the questions to consider for the first W—why.


TABLE 4.1       ASKING THE WHY OF A LEARNING ACTIVITY


COMPONENT

QUESTIONS TO ASK

Rationale

What is the reason for this learning activity? (Should relate directly to the Analysis phase [for example, practice gaps, staff concerns, regulatory requirements])

Promotion to Learners

How will you promote the activity to learners to gain their buy-in? (For example, one-sentence summary, full explanation, sharing full details of practice gaps)

NOTE: For your convenience, we combine each of the W's in the worksheet shown on page 95.



Who should attend the activity?

When planning a learning activity, staff educators need to develop the activity to accommodate the target audience, the who. The target audience is a group of staff members with an identified knowledge gap.
 
For example, if the learning activity is designed for direct patient care providers, who specifically is part of the target audience? Does it include RNs, LPNs, unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP), or all care providers, including the management team, ancillary staff, and advanced practice staff? If the education involves multiple disciplines, will a single learning activity meet each discipline’s learning needs, or should different classes on the subject matter be tailored for each discipline? For example, education on the use of restraints may require tailored information for different disciplines. The RN’s learning activity might require information on de-escalation techniques, provider order requirements, application of restraints, assessment and safety requirements when using restraints, evaluation of the effectiveness, when to safely remove the restraints, and required documentation. The UAP may only require de-escalation techniques, application and safety considerations, and when to call the RN. If, however, the UAP attends the RN learning activity, the UAP’s key focus items would be lost in the higher-level details that an RN would require. If different audiences require different content (or even different delivery modes/styles), educators should separate the learning activities to meet these individual learning needs.
 
Establishing who should be present for a learning activity is also a consideration for a larger scale conference, such as a certification review course. The educator needs to decide whether the learning activity will be open to employees working at the institution only or be open to external customers, but first the educator must determine the number of internal staff desiring to attend the conference. Limiting attendance of the learning activity allows more opportunity for the institution’s targeted audience to attend. However, if institutional needs are met and there is an outside interest in the content presented, it could be opened to outside customers if the speaker and facilities can accommodate additional learners.
 
The speaker or subject matter expert (SME) is the educator’s next consideration when developing a learning activity. Is the bedside educator always the best option for presenting a learning activity? Not always, and that is OK. Many institutions have SMEs who are better options for facilitating a learning activity. If using an SME, the educator then manages the activity, facilitating what is needed for the speaker to make the learning activity successful. For example, if the use of high-fidelity simulation is needed in order to stimulate more critical thinking and problem solving, the educator would work with the SME to develop the activity, but the SME would actually run the simulation and the planned education.
 
IS THE STAFF EDUCATOR THE BEST FACILITATOR?
 
Many times, the staff educator designs and develops all of the education for a nursing unit. But is the staff educator always the right person? The unit-based educator might have several favorite topics in his or her wheelhouse of presentations, but, if resources and opportunity arise, it might be a better option to utilize SMEs within one’s organization to develop the education.
 
Let’s say your unit will now be pulling femoral sheaths on post-cardiac catheterization patients instead of the procedure being done by Cardiac Cath. Lab staff. The experts on pulling femoral sheaths (the current cath. lab nursing staff) should be the SMEs in developing the education on appropriate techniques, protocols, and post cath. complications. As a bonus to developing and providing the training for your staff members taking over the skill set, an additional result is developing improved communication and trust between units that will be closely working together in the future.
 
Another example of when to look outside may be when you are asked to develop an organization-wide education on a Healthy Work Environment inservice, and you would like to bring in an outside speaker. You might consider going to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (ACCN) Speakers Bureau to find a speaker on this topic. Another speaker bureau is Sigma Theta Tau International’s Speakers Bureau (http://www.sttispeakersbureau.org).

Regardless of who does the actual teaching, it takes a small village to successfully deliver a learning activity. Many people and departments are needed to plan and implement an activity, which includes the following tasks:
  • Contracting with a speaker and, if the speaker is coming from out of town, making travel and lodging arrangements
  • Making arrangements for classroom assignment or conference hall
  • Completing the continuing education (CE) application and coordinating procurement of required CE documents
  • Printing CE evaluations and certificates
  • Creating and distributing flyers that advertise the learning activity
  • Registering participants
  • Printing any materials to be distributed to learners
  • Creating a registration/sign-in sheet and greeting participants
  • Setting up catering (if food will be provided)
  • Making arrangements for and setting up and assisting with audiovisual equipment
  • Assisting with setting up equipment needed for the learning activity (for example, pumps, simulation materials, and so on)
  • Assisting with any activities that will be completed during the learning activity

Table 4.2 summarizes considerations for the who of a learning activity.


TABLE 4.2     ASKING THE WHO OF A LEARNING ACTIVITY

COMPONENT

QUESTIONS TO ASK

Disciplines

Which disciplines will comprise the target audience? (For example, RNs, UAPs, physicians, social workers)

Internal versus External

Which units/departments will you invite? Will the activity be limited only to your organization?

Presenters

Who will be your presenter(s)/facilitator(s)?


 
When will the activity take place?
There never seems to be a perfect time—the when—for a learning activity, especially when planning an activity in which bedside nurses or other direct care providers from a 24-hour patient care unit will be required or heavily encouraged to attend. The staff educator must juggle times that work with the schedules of off-shift staff and the business needs of the nursing unit. Flexibility is the name of the game. For example, offering multiple classes on different days and at different times may encourage attendance, especially if the learning activity is required for all staff.
 
If learners work in an area that does not require 24/7 coverage, staff educators should consider working with the area’s manager to designate a date and time for educational activities. Examples might include “every Wednesday morning before seeing any patients” or “the first Tuesday of each quarter.”
 
Unfortunately, timing is not always in the hands of the educator. Does the knowledge gap require immediate intervention and need to be conducted yesterday? Or does the educator have time to plan the activity over a 6 to 9 month timeframe? Is the knowledge gap eligible for CE credits? These questions are items to consider when planning when a learning activity will take place. Using a timetable will assist the educator to keep on target with required tasks and ensure their completion prior to the time the activity takes place. In addition to the Gantt chart mentioned in Chapter 3, Figures 4.1 and 4.2 provide some examples on organizing a timeline for a learning activity.
 
Speakers also have an influence on when a learning activity will be conducted, especially if the SME is from outside your institution or from out of town. Most speakers will try to be flexible in their ability to present the learning activity, but be prepared for limitations. If using an SME from outside your institution, create a written agreement/contract with the SME after you’ve agreed upon date(s) and time(s) for the learning activity.
 
If introducing new equipment into your facility, ask whether the company has staff members dedicated to assisting with the rollout of the product and delivery of education to your staff members. If so, include in the purchase contract the availability of the company’s education department to meet off-shift training sessions. For example, if planning education on a new infusion pump, off-shift class times would allow for evening and night-shift staff to attend the class during their working shifts. The company educators will be flexible if attendance can be assured. If the equipment company does not have such resources, you might consider having a few interested staff members attend more than one product demonstration and designate them as resources for other staff members (some facilities call these staff members “super users”).
 
Marketing the activity
After it has been determined when to offer the learning activity, you want to focus on marketing to allow staff members’ adequate time to incorporate the class into their work-life schedules. Providing staff enough time in advance to work education into their planning schedule encourages improved attendance. If you work in an organization where learners’ schedules are not fixed (for example, where schedules are made in blocks of 6-week periods), planning a learning activity during a current schedule cycle might be difficult for learners to alter their schedules to attend the activity. If the advertisement is 1 to 2 months ahead of the current schedule cycle, learners can incorporate and plan for the event. Attendance is greater when there is advanced planning and advertisement.

Figure 4.1 Sample Timeline for Planning a Local ActivityClick to enlarge figure.

FIGURE 4.1
Sample Timeline for Planning a Local Activity
Source: American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (2012)

 

Figure 4.2
Click to enlarge figure.

 

FIGURE 4.2
Sample Timeline for Planning a Large Conference
Source: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (2014).

 

WHEN THE ACTIVITY NEEDS TO BE DONE ASAP

Unfortunately, there are times when planning a learning activity simply isn’t possible (for example, a serious patient care error occurred, and the organization’s staff requires immediate training). In these instances, staff educators must work with the manager and/or scheduling personnel to determine how to provide coverage for current patient care needs while assisting staff members in attending a learning activity. In some cases, the educator might need to cover a learner’s patient assignment while the learner attends the activity. (Although this isn’t ideal, it can have the unintended benefit of demonstrating to staff members that the educator values professional development and patient care and that these are not mutually exclusive activities.)

Some thought needs to be put into planning the advertisement of a learning activity. When creating a flyer or a brochure for the learning activity, include the following details:

  • A clear description of the learning activity
  • A description of the target audience, including required and optional attendees
  • A brief explanation of the educational program, including associated learning objectives
  • An agenda
  • Information on whether contact hours are offered (if so, include a state board-approved CE statement)
  • Any fees required of attendees
  • A clear indication of registration deadlines
  • The procedure for canceling registration
  • Complete contact information

If the learning activity provides CE hours, then all of the preceding information is required in the flyer or brochure. If the educational program is more than one day in length, you should also include a complete multi-day agenda. If learners external to your organization will attend, it’s beneficial to include information on travel, lodging, and recreational activities.

Setting completion deadlines for learners
If learners can complete the learning activity in a self-paced or self-scheduled manner (for example, reviewing an educational poster or completing an online module), the staff educator should set due dates for learners. After the activity is available to learners, it might be unreasonable to expect all of them to complete the activity within just a few days. (For example, what if patient census or acuity unexpectedly increases, and the learners need to divert all attention to patient care?) However, if the activity must be completed before a significant practice or policy change, it might be necessary to enforce deadlines.
 
In some situations, especially if the learning activity does not require significant time or cognitive focus, the activity can be completed during an assigned shift where active patient care is not being provided. For example, you assign staff members to complete an online module for their yearly review of emergency preparedness for fires (frequently known as “Code Red”). This particular module will only take 15 minutes to complete and, in most cases, is a review of standard Code Red practices. Many staff members may have a reasonable amount of down time in which to complete the learning module. The educator should work in conjunction with the unit leader/manager to determine whether it’s appropriate to complete learning activities while performing patient care. It can be a struggle to determine whether integrating learning activities is appropriate, and one might consider factors such as patient census/acuity, domain of learning, and time when making this decision.
 
Table 4.3 summarizes the when aspects of implementation.


 
TABLE 4.3       ASKING THE WHEN OF A LEARNING ACTIVITY

COMPONENT

QUESTIONS TO ASK

Importance

Do you have sufficient time to plan an ideal activity, or does the activity need to occur ASAP?

Learners’ Schedules

Will all interested (or required) learners be able to attend the learning activity at a single point in time? If not, how many activities need to be held, and what variation in time should occur to accommodate all learners?

Timeline

What does a brief outline of your timeline (starting with what could be done this week) look like?

Facilitators

Who are your facilitators, and what are the constraints on their schedules?

Deadlines

By when must the learning activity be completed, and is this sufficient time for learners to complete the activity?



Where will the activity take place?

Where to have a learning activity largely depends on what type of education is to be conducted. Audio-visual (AV) services and how the room is organized are major components to consider when scheduling a location for a learning activity. Once the needs of the room are determined to conduct an education, the classroom can be reserved.
 
To determine the best venue for a learning activity, staff educators should consider the answers to the questions in Table 4.4.


 
TABLE 4.4      ASKING THE WHERE OF A LEARNING ACTIVITY

COMPONENT

QUESTIONS TO ASK

Location

Should education occur at the point of care or away from the nursing unit?

Should the activity occur offsite?

What type of AV equipment/support is available at the location?

What type/how much equipment will need to be brought in?

Attendance

What is the anticipated number of attendees?

Internal attendees only?

External attendees?

Setup

What format (simulation, case scenarios, interactive activities, lecture, and so on) is used to conduct the activity?

Do you need tables to support group discussion or group activities? Stations to conduct multiple skill checks?

Is AV equipment needed for demonstration purposes? Will the activity be filmed for repeated use?

What healthcare-related equipment is needed (for example, IV poles, dressing kits, and so on)?

Are patient simulators needed?

Do facilitators need a table?

Do you need an area for posters or for equipment to display?

Do you need tables for food or drink?

Do you need a registration table?

Budget

Budget support and cost of conducting education at a hotel or conference center vs classroom or conference within the institution?

If providing food/beverages, does the location support this function provided by facility?

Costs of providing/supporting AV equipment at a hotel/conference center vs classroom or conference center within the institution?



What is the budget and what format is best?

When it comes to the what component of the W's, staff educators must consider two different “what” questions. The first involves budget (what are the expenses?), and the second involves format (what setup will work best?). We discuss budget first, because budget often has a significant impact on the format used.
 
Making a budget plan
The budget—what expenses will be incurred—plays a huge role in the development of an educational program. The expenses (and revenue earned) from an individual activity can greatly impact the larger educational program’s budget. Staff educators have many cost considerations when planning a budget:
  • Honorarium for speakers
  • Travel, lodging, and dining expenses for out-of-town speakers
  • Program materials and supplies (handouts, folders, jump drives, and so on)
  • Printing of posters and graphics
  • AV rental or other equipment rental costs
  • Catering expenses
  • Office supplies (name tags, pens, pencils, paper clips, staplers, receipts)
  • Cost of paying staff to attend required learning activities (non-clinical time) and any overtime costs to cover patient care on the nursing unit
  • Sponsors or vendors providing financial support for the educational program

In addition to considering the items in the preceding list, also take into account whether staff or unit budgets will be required to pay for the educational opportunity. If so, what will that fee cover and how much will the fee be?

If an activity is planned early enough, the staff educator can determine approximate expenses for the above items. The staff educator can then work with the manager to incorporate expenses for learning activities in the yearly budget. Worksheet 4.1 shows a budget template that you can modify to meet your needs.

Worksheet 4.1.
Click to enlarge worksheet.

WORKSHEET 4.1     SAMPLE BUDGET WORKSHEET FOR LEARNING ACTIVITY

And speaking of a yearly budget, the professional development specialist shouldn’t limit budget thinking simply to how much can be spent on individual learning activities. The staff educator might need to have his or her own budget to manage, especially if data can be used to demonstrate return on investment. While you’re thinking about implementation, jot down guesstimates for the amount of time you spend planning, implementing, and evaluating as well as the time learners spend in class along with their materials, refreshments, and so on (we’ll talk more about this in Chapter 6, “Evaluating an Educational Program’s Performance”).

Deciding on a format
What type of format you use to deliver a learning activity largely depends on the budget and the educational material used. There are several formats to consider, each meeting different learning needs. The ultimate goal is to plan a learning activity that has a variety of formats included to meet multiple learning styles. Online modules, lecture, case scenarios, simulation, group discussions, games, and role play are all examples of formats that you can utilize when planning education. Table 4.5 summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of the various formats.


 

TABLE 4.5     ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF COMMONLY USED LEARNING ACTIVITY FORMATS


FORMAT

ADVANTAGES

DISADVANTAGES

ONLINE MODULES

Self/student paced

Can be completed around work schedule

Good for large learning groups

Learners in a passive role

No interaction with the instructor

Technology dependent

LECTURE/SLIDESHOW PRESENTATION

Instructor control

Present facts and concepts in a relatively short timeframe

Meets auditory learning style

Good for large groups of learners

Learners in a passive role

One-way communication

Pace of learning is controlled by instructor

CASE STUDIES/SCENARIOS

Encourages critical-thinking skills

Easy to create

Can be incorporated in other teaching modalities (specifically, simulation or lectures)

Learners need some time to prepare

May be difficult to find an appropriate case study

Not as effective for large groups

SIMULATION

Controlled/safe representation of reality

Allows learners to practice problem-solving skills

Allows learners to practice hands-on skills

Improves communication skills and team building

Immediate feedback and evaluation can be provided

More effective in small groups

Time consuming to plan and implement

Cost involved to implement (if using moderate or high-fidelity simulators)

Can be intimidating for some learners

Allows for domination by one or two learners in a group

Requires a facilitator

DISCUSSIONS

Learner is in control

Learners validate their knowledge and skills

Allows instructor to evaluate learning

Attitudes can change during discussion

More effective with small groups of learners

Time consuming

Requires a facilitator

Allows for domination by one or two learners in a group

Requires ground rules

Not as effective with large groups of learners

GAMING

Interesting and challenging to students

Develops team-building skills

Can evaluate learning and provide immediate feedback

If too competitive, reduces the focus on learning

Can intimidate students and create feelings of inadequacy

ROLE PLAY

Adds reality to lesson

Builds confidence

Focus is on problem solving

More effective with small groups

Can be more focused on the acting versus the concepts

Intimidating to some learners


When considering what will be needed for a learning activity, organize needs into buckets and create a checklist of items needed for the learning activity. Examples of buckets include AV Equipment, Registration Needs, Participant Tools, Classroom Needs, Phone Numbers, Office Supplies, and Extras. Examples of supplies needed for each bucket are included in Table 4.6.


TABLE 4.6          WHAT IS NEEDED FOR A LEARNING ACTIVITY


AV Equipment

Laptop

Projector

Projector screen

Power cords/Duct tape

Computers needed for participants

Pointer/Clicker

Lavalieres

Registration Needs

Sign-in sheets for participants who registered; blank sign-in sheets for walk-in registrants

Receipts for walk-in registrants

Pens for sign-in sheets

List of registrants with outstanding balances/payment (if fees associated with activity)

Printed out name badges and blanks for walk-in registrants

Name badge holders

Signage for sign in and evaluation paperwork

Evaluation tools if using paper or Scantron evaluations

Participant Tools

Handouts

Folders

Jump drives with slide presentations

Classroom Needs

Flipcharts

Markers

Sticky notes for parking lot questions

Simulation aids, such as simulators/manikins, IV arms, IV poles/pumps

Equipment used in simulations; for example, dressing kits or trach care kit

Phone Numbers

Speakers

AV equipment “Help” desk

Caterers (if used)

Office Supplies

Staplers

Paper clips

Pens

Pencils (for paper evaluations)

Tissues

Extras

Snacks

Drinks

Table decorations


We would encourage you to use this table as a checklist at your next learning activity. Feel free to add to it or modify it to meet your needs.

THE ADVANTAGES OF CHECKLISTS

Checklists are actually useful for far more than simply implementing a learning activity. In fact, the importance of checklists cannot be overstated. Checklists for every aspect of the ADDIE model and the resulting education should be created and used every time. If you use checklists for the mundane as well as the complex activities for which you are responsible, then you are free to think. You can be innovative, take risks, and be able to spend time figuring out how to integrate new education into current practice, strategic goals, and even meeting the Triple Aim. When you spend your mental energy trying to remember all the supplies to bring to a learning activity, you get bogged down in all of the minutiae and end up not being productive.

The implementation worksheet
Worksheet 4.2 summarizes each of this chapter’s tables into an easy-to-use worksheet that you can reference as you work to implement your learning activity or program.
 
Conclusion
Education is such a priority for nurses. With the changing dynamic of our patient populations, patient acuities, and the introduction of new technology daily, it is difficult for the professional development specialist to keep up. Learners have high expectations of the product that educators produce. Learners expect education to be relevant to their practice and succinct. They want the flexibility of completing their education during working hours. Learners want a logical structure of the learning activity and the learning materials. Learners also want the opportunity to practice skills and the ability to apply the skills learned into their practice. Learners insist on consistency and subject matter experts in providing the education. Taking a systematic approach when developing educational activities by using the who, what, when, where, and why when designing the learning activity will assist in keeping the educator organized, focused, and timely as the design and development phases transition to implementation. 
Worksheet 4.2 

Click to enlarge worksheet.

WORKSHEET 4.2    ASKING THE 5 W’S OF A LEARNING ACTIVITY

Questions for reflection/discussion

1. What tools do you have at your disposal to assist you in meeting all of the development details when designing a learning activity?

2. What resources as far as location, equipment, and materials do you have available to design a learning activity?

3. How can you develop learning activities utilizing multiple formats to meet differing learning styles?
 

KEY TAKEAWAYS 

  • Adult learners link knowledge with past experiences and are problem centered. Providing rationale related to the learning activity allows learners to “buy in” or integrate new knowledge into their practice. This rationale is especially relevant when the learning activity relates to patient safety.
  • Consider your target audience—one learning activity does not meet all multidisciplinary needs. Consider creating individualized education for each discipline so the information is succinct and applicable to practice.
  • You, as the educator, do not need to be the subject matter expert (SME) for every learning activity. Use your resources and your “true” SMEs to develop and deliver the content. You, as the educator, can use your expert skills in the planning of the learning activity.​
Authors:
Alvin D. Jeffery, MSN, RN-BC, CCRN-K, FNP-BC, is an education consultant at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
 
M. Anne Longo, PhD, MBA, RN-BC, NEA-BC, is senior director for CIncinnati Children's Center for Professional Excellence/Education.
 
Angela Nienaber, MSN, RN-BC, is an education consultant for CIncinnati Children's Center for Professional Excellence/Education.
 
 
Resources
Puetz, B. E. (1992). The needs assessment: The essence of staff development programs. In K. Kelly, Nursing staff development: Current competence, future focus. Philadelphia, PA: J. B. Lippincott.
 
References
American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. (2012). Timeline for implementing educational programs.
 
American Nurses Credentialing Center. (2014). The importance of evaluating the impact of continuing nursing education on outcomes: Professional nursing practice and patient care. Retrieved from http://www.nursecredentialing.org/Accreditation/ResourcesServices/
Evaluating-the-Impact-CNE-Outcomes.pdf
 
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. (2014). Timeline for implementing educational programs.
 
Cronenwett, L., Sherwood, G., Barnsteiner, J., Disch, J., Johnson, J., Mitchell, P., … & Warren, J. (2007). Quality and safety education for nurses. Nursing Outlook, 55(3), 122–131. Retrieved from http://www.nursingoutlook.org/article/S0029-6554%2807%2900062-0/fulltext
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