Maximizing the effectiveness of surgeon live-training through responsive eLearning

What happens with many adaptive tools is you can stretch it out and zoom in to see it, but it's not as meaningful. Gomo’s responsive panels ensure that as you move to a different device, the content is still preserved, it’s still dynamic, and the message is uncompromised.

- Lisa D. Anderson, Senior Instructional Designer, AO Milestones

About AO North America

The AO Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1958, dedicated to research and development in the field of musculoskeletal injuries or pathologies, as well as the education of surgeons and operating personnel involved in the care of such patients. AO North America furthers this mission in its respective territory, providing a validated, credible resource for surgeon professional development across spine, trauma, craniomaxillofacial, hand, veterinary, and recon disciplines.

The challenge: Finding modern and engaging formats to supplement critical live-training experiences

The surgical field is challenging in that a sizeable quantity of training simply must happen live—it would be in no one’s best interests to compromise on delivering in-person training. Simultaneously, training providers must provide learners with ample opportunities to complement and augment live training events.

For AO North America, the priority became finding new ways to offload learning material efficiently and effectively into formats that can easily be reviewed and accessed on demand. Ideally, these formats would not only help learners to prepare for live training opportunities at their leisure, but they would also remain useful as a way of delivering reference and supplemental materials when needed.

AO North America wanted to increase the scope of its digital training offering beyond the slide decks and video recordings it had traditionally provided. By placing greater emphasis on eLearning, it intended to deliver more easily digestible and engaging materials.

At the same time, the US-based ‘AO Milestones’ team within the wider AO Foundation had its own eLearning authoring plans. While it made sense for the team to share tools with AO North America, there were also separate Milestones project requirements. Particularly, AO Milestones aimed to create a series of “faculty toolkits”, snackable, self-service how-tos for the chosen authoring tool that would help democratize content creation among surgeons. This would require quick and easy-to-update authoring templates. Interactivity was again a requirement—it needed to be possible to structure content so that busy learners could hide less-relevant topics and focus on what they needed to understand.

A lot of our people have done this for a long time, and sometimes they just need certain support tools and templates so they can move through the content authoring quickly. They're often so busy, we can't predict what device they're going to be on. They could start on a tablet, then they may go on a phone. Later they may be back on their office desktop computer. In that context, Gomo’s ability to be responsive and device agnostic is huge.

- Chitra Subramaniam, Chief Learning and Strategy Officer, AO North America

The solution: Easy-to-use, scalable and responsive eLearning

The ease of use, scalability, flexibility, and clean presentation that Gomo offers ticked all the boxes for both the AO North America and the AO Milestones teams. AO North America began its adventure in authoring digital content by creating a series of courses for veterinary professionals before iterating and working within their other surgical specialties. These courses covered a range of pre- and post-live training material, as well as reference and refresher content.

Meanwhile, AO Milestones is proceeding with development of its faculty toolkits, and is now able to share and repurpose elements of each course it creates in Gomo between different parts of its wider community.

In both areas of the organization, the courses could be easily delivered within the organization’s existing LMS. Thanks to Gomo’s responsive layouts, courses always provide clarity and interactivity regardless of device. Designers are able to take elements of traditional content and knowledge delivery and make them more interactive, snackable, and dynamic with a view to increasing engagement.

Gomo offers a range of interaction types the teams find useful—rather than simply transferring text from source documents into static screens, they have been able to place deeper knowledge behind accordions or hot text elements. Along with the drive towards smaller-scale courses, this allows learners to be more selective about what they focus on—surfacing only the knowledge they need.

The results: Positive impressions from faculty and learners

AO North America has successfully deployed its first wave of five RACE (Registry of Approved Continuing Education) credit-worthy veterinarian courses using Gomo as a key component to supplement the live training. As an example, their Feline Orthopedics course scored a rating of four and above (of 5) on all evaluation criteria with learners. When asked to rate the likelihood that they would incorporate knowledge and skills discussed in the activity in their practice, learners gave the course 4.81 out of 5. These ratings were typical of the ratings received across their new Gomo-authored courses. The courses and ratings serve now as a benchmark for other digital curricula and content that will be designed and delivered in the future.

By building courses compliant with the rigorous standards required by accrediting agencies such as RACE, the AO North America and the AO Milestones team hopes to establish a prototype and model that can be easily transferred to other specialties within the AO Foundation that offer continuing education. The team believes that due to Gomo’s sharing and course management capabilities, the process of repurposing, reusing, and scaling content is made easy.

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