Interactive technology in health education

Healthcare professionals are under pressure to remember, use and absorb increasing amounts of new or changing information. This surge has resulted in new and improved computerized tools for many healthcare activities and an explosion in the market for tools used in the instruction and training of healthcare workers. This article explains the use of interactive technology in healthcare and how it benefits the training and education of healthcare professionals.

Digital systems that capture images from documents, 35mm slides, physical specimens or specimens, or virtually anything the camera lens can see are found in interactive technology. In healthcare, transferring these images to computers is easy with simple devices or software that allow for the display and integration of instructional material into the training environment.

The method of delivering these images or documents, usually via PowerPoint presentations, photos, videotapes or audio presentations, can transform a standard Windows PC into a dynamic, interactive teaching tool. Depending on the type of training environment required, interactive presentations can be found using liquid crystal displays, large plasma displays, rear projection systems or even whiteboards. Educators can now tailor their courses to their audience’s expectations and needs using any number of these presentation styles.

The effectiveness of interactive learning systems largely depends on the type or form of delivery used in combination with software that can be easily used by both novice and experienced users. Smaller systems use a pen or stylus as opposed to a computer and mouse, while larger systems can use sophisticated video conferencing systems where many participants can be in the virtual classroom at the same time. Many healthcare organizations are already routinely utilizing forms of communication systems large and small in delivering high-quality, high-tech healthcare to patients and their communities. Adapting this equipment or using it for dual purposes is an easy and inexpensive transition.

The days of blackboards and chalk dust are just a memory for most of us. Interactive technology tools allow the educator to draw, write and annotate data right on the screen as part of their dynamic presentation. In addition, the educator can now annotate their presentation and save, print and even email the content of the lesson session to all participants.

The mobility that interactive technology brings to the educator in the virtual classroom lends itself to unlimited types of applications and methods of delivering high-quality, interactive sessions. Attendees also benefit from easy access to sessions, improved and more accurate notes to use later for study and reference. This all translates into greater retention of learning objectives and enhanced or enhanced application in practice once the participant returns to the office or department.

Healthcare professionals should seek educators and learning systems that combine ergonomics with interactive technologies that integrate the use of free text, annotations, images and video clips with traditional printed materials. Transitioning between screens or programs, connecting to the Internet and to class sessions, downloading or printing out course materials, and saving files or information for future class or reference should be easy and simple. The presentation and delivery of the training material should be efficient, easy to use and tailored for use by healthcare professionals with different technological skills.

Whether healthcare workers are new to the workplace or experienced professionals, the learning systems used should support them in learning new skills, procedures, diagnostic techniques and terminology. Communication between health care workers in local and remote communities is increasing, and the use of interactive technologies allows participants to collaborate and share important data and information.

Interactive technology can also improve the bottom line and reduce costs previously associated with travel or staffing and resources to send employees to local, regional or national meetings. Interactive presentations and systems can also engage and maintain participants’ interest and attention, enhancing their learning and retention gained from the course(s).

It is no wonder, then, that interactive technology has taken such a strong and prominent place in the education of health workers. Healthcare workers seeking either online, distance, or local training should evaluate the presentation and delivery systems used to maximize their learning experience.


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Copyright 2005, MA Webb. All rights reserved

Thanks to Michele Webb | #Interactive #technology #health #education

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