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Tips to Engage Nurses in Mandatory Training

Jo-Ann Byrne, RN, for HealthLeaders Media, January 25, 2011

2. The Video Game Approach

Last year we knew that we wanted to once again offer the mandatory annual training online, but it had to be more fun while simultaneously reinforcing the valuable content. We defined better results as more learners completing the training with less arm twisting and in a more timely fashion (not waiting until 3-5 days before the deadline.) We thought that by adopting a video gaming approach, the learning process would become more of an enjoyable game rather than a tedious obligation. In other words, we wanted to give this training some punch.

During the program’s development, we decided to adopt a theme, hoping for a creative way to get folks excited. Football was the inaugural theme and appropriate graphics and sounds were used throughout. It was minimally interactive, providing appropriate cheers for correctly answered quiz questions that were interspersed throughout the content as a way of review, followed by graphics depicting the participants’ move down the field with each correct answer, and a touchdown as the signal that training was successfully completed.

Six modules made up the entire program. Word soon spread that the mandatory modules were “more fun,” and “you should do it” was heard more than once in the corridors. By the end of the first week, 40% of staff had completed the program and we didn’t have nearly as many people waiting until the bitter end to jump in and get it done. We added an additional incentive, a pizza party, to the mix for the first department/unit to have 100% participation.

Lesson learned: We concluded our new approach had a modicum of success: 40% completed the program by the end of the first week and post-test scores continued to be in the 90-100% range. It was definitely a less painful experience for those of us who were monitoring progress and making calls to encourage staff to complete the training. We felt that if this rudimentary stab at gaming as a way of online learning was mildly successful, we should step up our next theme and level of interactivity. Could we get to 50% or greater participation by the end of the first week?

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