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How do I create an e-mail computer-based learning course?

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Computer-based learning (CBL) does not always have to be an elaborate, costly process. Creating straightforward, low-cost computer-delivered learning courses using e-mail is a great way to start using CBL without much of a budget. These elementary learning delivery approaches may be simple, but the learning they provide often fits nicely with an organization’s existing training structure and prove to be both popular and effective with learners because they are already accustomed to the technology used. Leadership often likes this type of course because there is no interruption of work for learners to attend training, along with the ease and low cost to create the learning material and then deploy it.

As with any sound learning development process, start the process by performing a learning assessment that establishes the learning audience and the needed content. Using the assessment findings, build a course outline in a word processor or in the e-mail program itself that includes all of the needed content. Once the outline is fleshed out, use solid instructional design and adult learning principles to fill in the content, and then divide the content into lessons with assessment questions at the end.

Creating an e-mail course is an excellent way to provide training about a new or updated organizational patient care policy or procedure and how it will impact the delivery of patient care.

To deploy your new e-mail-delivered policy/procedure course, first send out an explanatory e-mail that provides information about the training course that is coming, the learning objectives, how to complete the training and assessment questions, any time constraints, and expectations of the learner.

Next, send out the first e-mail lesson to everyone who needs to complete the new policy/procedure training. Learners can review the e-mail text of the new policy/procedure and any additional linked content, answer the questions, and return the e-mail to the appropriate location for documentation of completion and scoring.

Adrianne Avillion, DEd, RN

(October 2010)