2020 did a number on all industries, including healthcare education, but looking on the bright side, it also demonstrated the true power and potential of technology. Numerous companies were able to resume working as usual thanks to collaboration tools, and students were able to continue their education thanks to the platforms that make e-learning convenient.
Why Is E-Learning for Healthcare so Important Today for Professionals and the Industry
E-learning for healthcare is not only beneficial for students but also established healthcare workers. It is a great way for a healthcare professional to stay on track, communicate with colleagues, improve their professional knowledge, or even get a new official degree.
What Is E-Learning?
E-learning, also known as online learning or computer learning, is the process of acquiring information using electronic devices and media. E-learning can be described as "learning that is allowed electronically."
It is usually performed over the internet, and students can access their learning materials online at any place and time. There are numerous e-learning methods available, such as online classes, interactive lectures, webinars, or even web-based training.
When it comes to healthcare, e-learning appears in multiple forms as well. Healthcare workers can attend live lectures with skilled professionals. They can also sign up for webinars or courses on specific topics and watch pre-recorded lectures when it is most convenient for them. For example:
- Coursera offers a variety of courses, such as a course on cancer, that allow individuals to learn the latest skills, earn a degree, and reap various career benefits.
- Modern Healthcare offers health professionals many webinars that will help them stay up to date with the most recent events and developments in healthcare.
It’s also possible to use e-learning to attend universities and colleges and obtain a full-scale degree over time. For example, Best Medical Degrees gives individuals the opportunity to find the institutions that will help them obtain a degree online in almost any field.
The Development of E-Learning Over Time
The concept of e-learning isn’t a recent invention. It has been around for quite a while. In 2002, MIT created the first MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). The open educational resources (OER) campaign, which was motivated by the MIT OpenCourseWare initiative, gave birth to the first MOOCs. The OER movement was sparked by research that found no link between class size and learning outcomes.
2006–2010: e-learning on the rise
Between 2006 to 2010, there were tremendous improvements in e-learning. Thanks to all the technological improvements, e-learning was becoming more prominent. It was less expensive, and it removed geographical boundaries.
E-books were on the rise, mobile technology was improving, the digitization of libraries took place, and there was even talk about virtual reality.
By 2008, every fourth college offered an online course, and there were about 4.6 million online students in the US. The worth of the e-learning industry leaped from $6.5 million in 2003 to $27.1 million in 2008.
2011 and onwards: gaining traction
From 2011 onwards, e-learning has been growing and improving. Various technology advancements occurred during this timeframe, such as the cloud, tablet computing, learning through social platforms, advancement in learning analytics (learn more about learning analytics on our blog), MOOCs, and wearable technology. Also, numerous tools were developed that further simplified e-learning course creation.
Online learning became popular not only among students but also professionals, entrepreneurs, and business owners. Students found e-learning helpful because it allowed them to gain expertise in any subject. Professionals, on the other hand, found that e-learning courses helped them enhance their skill set and attain a better position in their career path.
At this point, there were about 6.3 million online students, not including the number of non-college students enrolled in distance education courses around the world. About one in four US college students enrolled in an online course at degree-granting institutions of higher education in 2014. This ratio increased to one in three by 2017, with 30 percent of all enrollees attending at least one distance education course. Also, the number of MOOCs increased by 24 percent in 2016–2017.
The value of the e-learning market
Online education spending increased by almost a third from 2011 to 2015 (from $35.6 billion to $107 billion). More importantly, online education was 22 percent of the total higher education revenue in 2015.
In 2019, the global EdTech market, which is mainly driven by the proliferation of smart devices and seamless internet connectivity, was valued at $76.4 billion. It is expected that the market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18.1 percent from 2020 to 2027. The year 2020 was also marked by a $30 billion venture capital investment in e-learning and digital health startups.
According to the most recent data, the online learning industry is projected to pass $370 billion by 2026.
Healthcare e-learning development throughout time
The advancements in educational technologies also affected the healthcare industry by modernizing its workplaces and customized learning. This is greatly beneficial as each healthcare student and professional gets the chance to adjust education to their personal needs.
As the technology kept evolving, healthcare workers gained access to artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality that further improved their education. AI promotes comprehension and memorization, whereas augmented reality promotes immersive learning. Also, numerous healthcare institutions started integrating and promoting various options for continuous professional development (CPD).
2020 brought new challenges to the world. As a result, the data in medical science increased significantly. Even though all these findings had the potential to help countries improve their health situation, it is challenging to implement the newest practices and normative guidance throughout the global health workforce. New ways to speedily get knowledge, evidence, and information into the hands of healthcare workers became essential.
As a result, the WHO Academy, a cutting-edge educational facility dedicated to bringing the lifelong learning revolution to the field of medicine, was developed. Located at a futuristic campus in Lyon, France, the Academy is scheduled to launch its first online courses in May 2021. The Academy will be globally accessible to all healthcare professionals, as it will offer innovative, personalized, and multilingual training that meets priority needs.
Importance of E-Learning for the Healthcare Industry
The healthcare industry is advancing incredibly fast, requiring professionals to stay on top of the latest technologies, regulations, training, and certifications. All this helps provide patients with the best service, treatments, and possible outcomes.
Since healthcare professionals are very busy and they have to tend to patients daily, spending time in classrooms would prevent them from doing their job. E-learning is the most straightforward and efficient way for healthcare professionals to stay abreast of the latest developments in diagnoses and treatments.
E-learning allows healthcare professionals to decide when and how they want to learn. It also removes all boundaries and allows people in remote areas to have access to high-quality medical education.
Overall, online education is more flexible, but what benefits does e-learning for healthcare professionals have over traditional classroom education?
10 Benefits of E-Learning for Healthcare Over Traditional Classroom Learning
Based on our experience with online education and research in the field, we identified 10 key benefits of using e-learning in the healthcare industry.
1. Students don’t need to relocate
One of the biggest advantages of e-learning in healthcare, and in general, is that it allows people to enroll in any university, course, or webinar and attend it from the comfort of their home. Individuals get to enhance their skills and career with an online college or graduate degree without having to move to another city or country.
2. They can have a more flexible schedule
In general, e-learning allows students to study at their own pace and learn at the time of day and in the place that works best for them. When people are in control of every part of their schedule, it is easier for them to maintain an active social and family life and even work with learning.
3. A virtual classroom provides a less stressful learning environment
Reduced stress is the result of a flexible schedule. When people learn at their own pace, participate in ways that feel more comfortable, and don't have to travel or commute to their college, their stress levels will stay low.
4. Students have more opportunity to concentrate and participate
People are productive at different times of the day. Thanks to e-learning, individuals can study at the time when their brain is most engaged. Also, some people find it challenging to focus and participate in crowded classrooms. Online learning can make it easier for students to concentrate and also jump in with their questions and ideas.
5. E-learning makes it possible to keep your job
Sometimes, people want to stay in their company but climb the ladder. To do so, they have to improve their credentials. Attending college lectures is almost impossible when you have a full-time job. However, thanks to e-learning, there is no need to choose between school and work, as you get to do both.
6. E-learning is conducive to everyone's needs
The greatest advantage of e-learning is that it can be customized for the needs of every type of learner. For healthcare students, this means that they will have the resources they need to learn long-lasting skills for helping people, whether they choose video lessons, audio lessons, webinars, textbooks, or even worksheets.
7. Content can be reviewed an unlimited number of times
E-learning allows individuals to access the content as many times as they need, which is not the case with traditional classroom teaching. Healthcare is a broad field, and professionals can explore any topic they need thanks to e-learning.
8. E-learning can be tailored to healthcare education goals
Some of the e-learning tools allow creating various online courses. E-learning allows educators to tailor their lessons to healthcare education goals. For example, students can practice "life or death" decision-making in class, lessons can be case-based, and students could get the opportunity to see ramifications for their decisions right away.
9. Online learning allows students to invest in themselves
Thanks to online learning, healthcare professionals can stay up to date with the latest developments and remain competent in their field. E-learning allows individuals to gain new skills, knowledge, and certificates and ensure success in their current and future positions.
10. E-learning improves the quality of living for patients
Being knowledgeable and educated is essential for protecting the people you serve. The more you know, the greater the chances are for you to improve the quality of living for your patients. E-learning can help you achieve this.
Methods of E-learning for Healthcare Workers
Although there are numerous methods of online education, here are the most common types of e-learning for healthcare workers.
Learning Destination Websites
A learning destination site is a shared website that provides courses from several different providers. These websites can be considered a storefront, similar to how Amazon acts as the front end for many stores.
The most common learning destination websites are Udemy, Udacity, Coursera, and edX.
A learning management system (LMS) is a platform where individuals can develop and host an online course. The course designer is allowed to author courses, store them, manage learning profiles, report grades and progress, and perform other simple tasks characteristic of online courses.
There are more than 700 learning management system providers such as Blackboard and Schoology.
An open-source learning management system has the same features and options as the traditional one. The only difference is that these platforms are typically free of charge and can be customized.
Common open-source learning platforms are Moodle, Sakai, and Open edX.
Modern Learning Management Solutions
Traditional LMS platforms often cause frustration because they are not up to date with the latest trends and technological innovations. Modern learning management solutions focus on learner experience as well as specific pedagogies that are not supported in traditional LMSs.
Numerous companies offer modern learning management solutions, such as Motivis, Docebo, and NovoEd.
Learning Management Ecosystems
The learning management ecosystem is another kind of online learning platform. In this model, businesses combine best-of-breed "point" solutions into a single framework.
Features include course authoring applications, evaluation tools, agile learning engines, e-commerce platforms, and learning content management systems, which are all combined and delivered to the learner as a single solution.
An excellent example of a learning management ecosystem is the University of Notre Dame's NeXus platform. This platform features Open edX at its core but also integrates many other software tools.
Custom-Built Learning Platform
Custom LMS development focuses on serving the needs of the business, learner, and pedagogy. This solution is created from scratch, usually making it the most expensive one, but it ensures complete control.
A great example of a custom-built learning platform is HBX, which was built specifically for Harvard Business School courses.
Examples of E-Learning in Healthcare
- Native courses from universities and colleges. There are a few colleges that offer online healthcare courses, such as:
- Ashworth College
- Southern New Hampshire University
- The College of Healthcare Professionals
- Independence University
- Third-party e-learning services. Several third-party services provide universities, colleges, or professionals in the industry with platforms to host their programs. The most popular ones include:
- Best Medical Degrees
E-Learning for Healthcare Professionals: Is It Just Hype or a Stable Trend?
E-learning has been around since the 1990s, but its popularity and the use of e-learning dramatically increased in 2020. The number of students enrolling in institutions that offer e-learning is continually on the rise as well due to the prominent e-learning advantages in healthcare and modern-day necessities.
For example, the overall college enrollment in the United States has declined through the fall of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, institutions that offer primarily online instruction are seeing increases. Enrollment at predominantly online universities rose by 7 percent in the fall of 2020 and spring 2021, compared to 5 percent in spring 2020.
But, there are also a few concerns that surround e-learning. Many teachers find it difficult to maintain student engagement. Some teachers found it challenging to adapt to this new method of teaching due to a lack of adequate digital skills. Last but not least, not all students have access to fast internet or laptops, which makes e-learning not an adequate solution for everyone.
However, these challenges can be easily overcome. Educational institutions can organize courses or training sessions for their teachers that will help them learn how to use e-learning platforms and adjust to all the changes more easily. On the other hand, teachers can foster a positive learning attitude among their students to maintain their motivation and improve their learning.
When it comes to equipment, governments that are interested in improving the quality of education can provide funds for families in need or even lend them the necessary equipment to ensure everyone has access to high-quality online learning.
Our Experience With E-Learning for Healthcare
At Genuisee, we developed a healthcare e-learning project called NCourage. The platform helps understand the nature of anxiety and stress as well as the cause of problems with falling asleep.
The main idea of the app is to teach the users that the best way to manage anxiety and other problems is to challenge the norm of how we currently think about them, talk about them, and treat their symptoms. In turn, using the app should promote personal growth, success with work, and increased productivity.
The app is made in the form of audio lectures with small thematic notes.
Challenges that we faced
There were a few aspects of the topic and platform capabilities we had to take into account:
- Understanding the problems of anxiety/stress, falling asleep, personal growth, and productivity
- The possibility to undergo treatment using an audio app
- The possibility to track the mood throughout the week, month, and year
- Creating an admin panel that allows you to manage content in the application
Solutions we applied
As a result of our hard work and dedication, Geniusse created the following solutions:
- UX/UI design of the full product
- ReactNative iOS and Android mobile application for the client, allowing them to listen to audio lectures
- Admin panel allowed to manage content inside the app
- AWS infrastructure based on microservice architecture
- Development of CI/CD in AWS
Our Geniusse development team is known for their expertise in creating web platforms and mobile applications with different levels of complexity, step by step, from requirements elicitation and design to technical support in the future. NCourage proved to be an immense success along with all the other tech solutions we provide.
You can check out the project yourself in our portfolio or by downloading the app for Android or iOS.
If you’re looking for a development team to custom-build an e-learning platform or any other software solution, contact Geniusse.
E-learning might not have been as popular and widely-utilized as it is now, but it has seen steady development over the last twenty-odd years. Thanks to technological advancements, healthcare professionals from all over the world can join reputable institutions and start expanding their skills and knowledge.
Thanks to the massive e-learning benefits for healthcare professionals, the healthcare industry is going to maintain this trend in the future as well, allowing healthcare professionals to take even better care of their patients.
Are you in need of an e-learning platform or any other software solution? The Geniusse team has got your back! We are skilled professionals capable of building advanced apps from scratch. Tell us your idea, and we'll transform it into reality.