Online learning has become increasingly popular over the years. The global COVID-19 pandemic has made online learning even more valuable. Inside Higher Ed reports that most students would be interested in online courses, including online-only and hybrid classes that combine in-person and online aspects. Students and faculty alike also feel more confident in how digital materials and open education resources can work.
People wary of e-learning in the past have begun to accept this aspect of education. Every subject can benefit from online learning, and the medical education field is no exception. Online nursing programs have made it easier for nursing students to complete their studies. Students can complete their classes in multiple places, with many students even being able to fast-track their studies.
People can complete their nursing programs in less time, with many schools promoting fast-track programs that take 16 to 18 months to complete. E-learning programs have helped students become ready to practice as licensed nurses. People who want to enter the nursing field as a second career can benefit from e-learning, as they can use the skills they have already learned in the past to complete their studies. It takes less time for students to complete their studies when they have more of their abilities ready.
The advancement of e-learning has come at a good time. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that close to 200,000 new nursing jobs will open from 2021 to 2031. The need to get more people ready to become nurses has never been more critical, and e-learning programs are necessary for helping find people who can fill these positions.
The e-learning field has changed medical education and nursing in numerous ways. Many of these changes have made it easier for students to complete their studies and learn more about managing different tasks in their fields.
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Easier access to programs
One prominent way that e-learning has changed medical education comes from how easy it is for students to access various programs. In the past, students had to attend courses in specific locations. However, today’s e-learning industry has made it so that people can complete their courses from many places. Whether at home or on the go, students can access course data if they have an online connection and a compatible device.
This point is also valid for nursing programs. Students can get access to textbooks and other documents necessary for studying online. The ability to access different online databases and other educational items is also convenient.
Some nursing courses will still have to be taken in person, including lab-based courses. However, the number of classes that can work online will outnumber the ones that require in-person studies.
Accessible programs are also critical for students trying to bridge their careers. Many students are working and want to study to enter a new field. They can link the skills in their current job to their new one in nursing. Accessing online learning assets is necessary for allowing a student to complete their studies on time while managing the assets they hold. The student can still study even when they have a busy schedule for other tasks.
More access to everything in a class
Older ways of studying have required students to attend classes at particular times in certain locations, but the e-learning industry allows them to access everything of value.
There is a vast assortment of learning methods that students can use while online. Students are able to do the following:
- View lectures, including both live and archived ones
- Work on whatever assignments are available on an online portal
- Communicate with other students through discussion boards
- Use chat rooms for real-time interaction students – instructors may also be available
- Use web conferencing functions
- Take online exams through many portals
- Take quizzes, tests and other assessments if available online
Medical programs are often complex and require access to as many resources as necessary. Today’s online learning portals allow students to access more information from anywhere. The integration of multiple measures for accessing content is also helpful.
Data is easily available
The nursing sector requires students to handle various details and concepts. They have to gather as much data as necessary to stay successful.
Online data access makes it easier for students to gather the details needed for nursing studies. People can access more books and resources online, and they can get the latest updates on the industry. Instead of having to spend money on books that are often expensive and will likely become obsolete in a few years, students can go online and get the latest information when required.
Today’s online data stores are easy to support, as they can work through a cloud connection. People can access their content from anywhere as long as a cloud connection is available. Online storage can be backed up as necessary, ensuring that nothing is lost.
It’s also easy for people to use the same procedures when checking on nursing data. Students can reach the same platform and find information without delay. This provides a convenient approach to learning that won’t be too hard to manage in most situations.
Cloud-based data may also be simple for schools to edit and update, as any updates to nursing protocols or trends can be posted online as necessary. The information in a traditional textbook can quickly become outdated without warning, so regular updates to teaching materials will be required.
Traditional courses often involve people being told certain things they are expected to remember. It’s not easy for students to retain information by simply listening to a lecture and being asked to memorize whatever they hear in these discussions.
E-learning provides greater interactivity, as students will have more control over what they hear and experience. Students can do many things when learning:
- They can play back and review lectures as often as they wish.
- They can select the specific things they want to learn first. They have more control over the order in which they learn.
- They can take interactive quizzes, videos and games that can help them learn more about their subject.
The immersive nature of these features makes it easier for students to retain the information they learn. Students may also become more invested in the learning material. They have more control over the learning experience and can manage this at their own pace.
Students can also use archived data to refresh themselves before studying new aspects of nursing. They will not become lost when figuring out what’s happening in the field.
Essential exposure to health tech
Technology has never been more vital than now, as healthcare technology helps nurses do more for their patients. From portable diagnostic monitors to wearable devices to smart beds, nurses have more tools for their use.
It is often easier to learn about technological items through an online platform. Online nursing programs can help students learn about health technology and understand how various platforms and materials work. Students can learn about health technology requirements and how to manage the laboratory and administrative materials.
One example of how e-learning programs are helping nursing students involves how they cover electronic health record (EHR) reports. HealthIT.gov states that EHRs are necessary for healthcare professionals, as these patient-oriented records help professionals learn more about their patients in less time. They can check previous diagnoses, medication information, treatment plans, immunization dates, and past test results.
New technologies will likely be made available in the future, so consistent updates to education will be necessary. E-learning emphasizes managing these programs while teaching students how to run various standards for work.
The incorporation of software
Various software programs are necessary for today’s nursing field, and online studies make it easier for people to handle software programs. An online learning portal can give students access to various software products that are necessary for their studies.
A 2021 study in Teaching and Learning in Nursing reports that online studies can help students review how software programs work by providing direct access to different measures and operations for work. Students can obtain the skills necessary for these programs by directly using them in an online classroom.
Interactivity with software also helps online learning to focus on psychomotor skills. One problem that people have had with e-learning involves how it focuses more on the theoretical aspect of studies instead of the psychomotor skills needed to carry out certain tasks. However, the advancement of e-learning has allowed students to access the software programs necessary for studies. They can get first-hand experience handling various tasks and recognizing what is ideal for work.
Software is expected to become critical in nursing, just like it has in most other sectors. Online learning provides access to the software that nursing students will use in their daily work.
Collaboration has never been easier to manage in e-learning. A 2021 report from Seminar.net states that today’s online studies make it easier for students to learn. Students can socialize and exchange information online, which helps them to construct more knowledge. The work is about creating a united approach to learning that allows everyone to move forward in their studies.
E-learning helps students learn together, simulating an environment similar to what people would experience in a hospital or other medical facility. Students learn how to share information with one another through various online communication platforms. They can discuss the content they hold and plan different ways to address a workplace challenge.
Today’s e-learning world is helping to bridge the perceived gaps that people have between in-person and online learning. The Seminar.net report states that students can follow a four-stage approach to collaboration and handling information:
- Students can introduce themselves to one another. This stage helps students learn about each other while preparing a plan for interaction that will fit.
- Online socialization is necessary for the next part. Students can collaborate with one another and review how the learning management system works.
- Students then share study strategies and identify the best ways to complete a task.
- The group members then integrate the knowledge they have obtained and use this to establish new learning standards that everyone can follow.
The increased collaboration both improves how students share information and enhances trust. By improving trust and data access, students will feel more confident in their studies. They will be more likely to succeed, as they can absorb the data they learn better than they might have in the past.
Online learning programs can also provide links to social media where students and instructors can interact with each other. This measure increases the ways that people can communicate. The solution also benefits everyone, as many people already have accounts or connections on social media sites.
Less time than expected
An exciting part of fast-track online nursing programs involves how easy it is for people to complete their studies in less time on average. The nursing industry is growing, and the need to fill more positions has never been greater. An online program can help students complete their studies in less time. It’s especially easy for nursing students to do this, as they don’t have to go through some of the more complex prerequisites they have already completed when working toward other programs.
Nurse.org states that it can take four years for a student to attain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The first two years focus on prerequisites for a nursing program, such as English composition and math. The second two years focus on advanced nursing and clinical training studies.
An accelerated online program will focus on essential nursing skills. Students who have completed the courses for English and math and other subjects in high school, or already have a career where one has already studied those subjects, will not have to complete the prerequisites typically offered in the first two years of study.
Online programs also accept people outside the nursing industry interested in a second career as a nurse. Anyone with a bachelor’s degree in another field where various prerequisites are covered in a nursing program won’t have to take those prerequisite courses. This allows students to spend less time having to study multiple subjects to attain a degree in one field.
The last point about online learning involves how it has helped students become more confident in their studies. A 2021 study in Advances in Medical Education and Practice reports that students are willing to communicate with one another in a virtual environment, and they may feel comfortable when doing so.
The report focused on students who were forced into virtual studies during the start of the global pandemic in 2020. While most of these students had no previous e-learning experience, they found it easy to study online. They felt confident and motivated in their work, as they had all the necessary resources to help them complete their studies.
There were many other points in this study:
- Students found it easy for them to stay disciplined in their studies. They were able to keep their studies intact.
- There is more initiative when studying online, as students feel that they have more control over how they learn.
- Students also feel responsible for learning. This added responsibility helps them stay focused, as they know that they might be judged for not doing well when they have complete control over their work.
- Independent work is also vital to online learning, with students feeling capable of working either by themselves or as part of a team.
The virtual environment for learning makes it easier for students to learn more without feeling judged. Students will want to keep studying and learning more about nursing and other fields, helping them to go forward with their studies. It becomes easier for them to complete their studies on time or ahead of schedule.
A final word
The potential for e-learning to grow is significant as more students are starting to discover what makes it advantageous. E-learning provides many benefits for medical education, and more schools will likely make e-learning a critical part of their programs.
Fast-track online nursing programs will create a positive impact on the nursing industry, as they will make it easier for the increasing number of positions in the field to be filled. Changes in the e-learning world mean that online studies will make learning more efficient.