Online learning is nothing new. But new research from St. Andrew’s Hospital in Brisbane, Australia suggests that online learning is equally effective as in-person workshops for learning new skills.
Nurses at St. Andrew’s were required to complete an education module about a chest drainage procedure, either online or in workshops. Both methods produced similar understanding of the procedure, but the nurses preferred the online training because it was more flexible. Educators at St. Andrew’s think the online option is an excellent way for nurses to get necessary training while continuing to meet patient needs. Instead of leaving patient care areas for an entire educational session, nurses could complete the training during lulls in their shift.
Online options are available for everything from continuing education credits to PhD programs. According to the American Association of the Colleges of Nursing, the number of fully online RN-to-BSN programs increase by over one-third in the past two years, from 96 programs in 2007 to 129 online programs in 2009.
Have you ever participated in an online learning program? What did you think? Would you recommend online learning to other nurses?