Recently, I’d had to complete a First Aid course and used a company located close to where I live for connivence. This is a company that provides First Aid courses either onsite or on premises ranging from beginner to advanced First Aid courses and are nationally recognised and accredited.
Although this company has a Student CRM and provides digital downloads of PDF documents and First Aid Signs, there is no online learning platform being used to enhance and extend the learner experience and engagement.
Looking at the way the First Aid training company deliver’s, they could take a Blended Learning approach to the courses that they deliver. Understanding that there are many elements to First Aid that need to be observed to be deemed competent, there are still plenty of supplementary learning and assessing that they could design to enhance the learner experience. Online courses could also be used a means of retention or as refresher courses.
For example, based on the standard course that they deliver on First Aid inc CPR the course covers three (3) units:
1. HLTAID003 – Provide First Aid
2. HLTAID002 – Provide Basic Emergency Life Support
3. HLTAID001 – Provide CPR
If we look at the first unit (HLTAID003 – Provide First Aid (Training.gov.au, 2015)), there are elements that could be applied to an online learning environment. The first element is ‘Respond to an Emergency Situation’. This could be delivered as an online course based on various scenarios. Any of the scenarios could be of a fictitious event that the learner must watch and engage with. This could also be delivered in 360 degree video via YouTube. These scenarios could be real life situations (based on real world actors) or computer generated animations. The students can then be presented with a series of self-answering instant feedback questions that the student must answer.
Students would also need to complete a face-to-face session to demonstrate the skills and knowledge obtained to complete the course.
If we were to look online for additional companies that are running the same course as a comparison, The Red Cross Organisation is one that returns within search results. In comparison to the company I chose, The Red Cross’ site is more informative and clearly identifies the outline of the course as well as the eLearning component of the course using their own Learning Management System. The Red Cross use an eLearning platform to deliver and assess the theoretical aspect of the course. The students are then required to attend a face-to-face session to complete their qualification.
This method of Blended Learning could be said to be adopting the SAMR model developed by Dr Ruben Puentedura . This model identifies the transforming of traditional methods of delivery and learning using technology. The learning methods are broken into 2 parts, Enhancement and Transformation.
Enhancement uses Substitution as the first part of the model. An example of substitution would be a textbook being replaced with an eBook. This is simply replacing the existing textbook, but is not actually changing the way the student learns. Enhancement also uses Augmentation. This could be in the form of a website that would enhance the learner’s experience.
Transformation takes technology to make a significant change to the way something is learnt. The first part of the transformation is Modification. An example of this would be peer assessment on assessments. Another example could be using forums to invoke a discussion on a particular subject. This could be adapted to be used First Aid courses. The final part of the model is Redefinition. This is creating new tasks based on technology that were previously unimaginable. There are now several Apps available that users can access to enhance their learning and retention. One such app is the St Johns Ambulance First Aid App. Previously this would have been in the form of paper-based book that would have been cumbersome for people to use and carry around. With the App, students can easily access a database of First Aid procedures from their phone.
First Aid has typically been delivered in a face-to-face manner, however it can be modified to digital learning techniques as demonstrated clearly by The Red Cross. The Red Cross have taken the theoretical aspect of the course and made it an online course. This is using a direct substitute (Augmentation) of the traditional method of having students sitting in a classroom and being presented with slide shows and videos.
Digital learning can also be extended (Modification) within First Aid courses to allow students a higher level of engagement. For example, students could watch a short video (with closed captions) and be able to answer questions based on the material they’ve just watched. The content can be controlled and does not put anyone in harm’s way. This type of delivery enhances the learning experience by providing options for the students including self-paced, different learning styles and time-poor students. Students could then join a forum to discuss how things may have been handled in the scenario or identify failings within the scenario.