Generally, programs that require immediate dialogue and discussion are best presented in the classroom setting. Here are some recommendations for types of programs that lend themselves to innovative classroom presentations. Some facets of blended learning may also be appropriate. For example, some didactic content may be presented via distance learning formats. However, the bulk of the programs, particularly those aspects that require group discussion and communication, are best suited to the classroom.
Consider the following topics:
- Communication skills: Communication is an art. When teaching about communication, it is important to teach about body language, tone of voice, and how sentences are phrased. Effective communication skills can be demonstrated, and ineffective communication skills critiqued.
- Screening for abuse: Topics related to various types of abuse trigger emotional reactions that need immediate opportunities for discussion.
- Genetics: Genetics is a topic that triggers ethical discussion of considerable controversy. It is important to have opportunities for immediate communication and discussion when dealing with topics that cause learners to examine their own personal values and beliefs.
- Conflict management: Conflict is part of every work environment. Conflict among healthcare professionals generally leads to poor communication, which increases the possibility of medical errors. Conflict resolution takes place in a variety of ways: face-to-face communication, telephone conversations, and via electronic communication. But face-to-face, in person education facilitates learning about the non-verbal, as well as the verbal, aspects of communication that are so essential to conflict resolution.
- Topics that trigger ethical discussions: The group discussions that are essential to talking about the feelings triggered by ethical issues are best handled in a classroom setting.
- Preceptor training: Preceptors and orientees spend a great deal of time together. The interpersonal aspects of serving as a preceptor should be modeled and discussed in a face-to face setting.
- Mentoring: Mentoring may be a formal or informal process. Many organizations are developing formal mentor programs to nurture future leaders. Personal interaction is essential to mentor and mentee bonding.
- Leadership/Management: As with many programs, some didactic information may be offered as a distance learning opportunity. But as with the preceding recommendations, it is important to offer future leaders and managers the chance to learn about or update themselves on those communication techniques that are so essential to interpersonal interaction.
--Adrianne E. Avillion, DEd, RN