Monday, October 17, 2011

JHMI Internship: Phase 1 - Week 1 (starting 09/26/11)

     Upon completion of all administrative tasks, I was finally presented with the content for my assignment: a training program entitled The Language of Caring (LoC).  The purpose of the training is to enhance communication skills of hospital employees with customers (i.e. patients, families and staff) in order to make their interactions have a sense of compassion, rather than solely based on business.  

     It consists of 9 "skill-builders" that focus on individual communication skills.  Each skill-builder is designed to be a separate face-to-face workshop, to be administered by respective managers.  Each workshop is setup in the following format:
     1) Introduction: Welcome, presentation of objectives
     2) Warm-up: Short introductory activity and discussion
     3) Video: Further explanation and sample skits
     4) Apply It! Activity: Learners try to use new skill
     5) Hard-wiring Activity (optional): Follow-up activities to be completed outside of workshop
     6) Conclusion: Short review and closing remarks

     As the included materials in the program are plentiful, I had to work with a subject matter expert (SME) to find out exactly what should be included.  The SME for my project is a supervisor who works within the Service Excellence group for the Nursing department.  Service Excellence is an initiative within all of Johns Hopkins to improve upon customer relations.

     In our meeting, the SME explained what he envisioned for the online portion of the training.  It should basically act as a supplement for the face-to-face workshops, consisting of all videos for the nine-skill builders, as well as all accompanying documentation for managers and course participants to have access to.  He also said it should incorporate a link to a follow-up evaluation survey, to be completed by course participants.  He also noted that it should be available on the company Learning Management System (LMS) by the end of the year as formal training is scheduled to start soon after. 

     In addition, based on the suggestion of my onsite adviser, the SME also liked the idea of including a mobile learning (m-learning) function such that course participants could receive reminders and/or tips regarding course sessions via SMS text messaging.  This would be something voluntary that participants could opt into by supplying their mobile number (perhaps during the survey).  This is something I hope to look into as Interactive Learning (and JHMI in general) is interested in possibly adding an m-learning solution to their portfolio.  All in all, this meeting was extremely beneficial as it helped me get a better grasp for what the project really entailed.

     Following this meeting, I installed the software I would be using to help me build my course, Articulate Studio.  Articulate is a course authoring tool for designing engaging e-learning courses.  Rather than existing as a separate entity, it is a plug-in for Microsoft PowerPoint which shows up an additional tab.  The Studio consists of the following components: 
     Presenter - core tool used to create flash-based courses
     Quiz Maker - tool to create flash-based quizzes
     Engage - tool to add interactions for courses (e.g. timelines, situations)

     Besides familiarizing myself with the different tools offered in Articulate, I also continued to review the various LoC training materials, and tried to organize all the electronic training materials (e.g. documentation, video, etc.) accordingly on my computer.

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