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  • Writer's pictureEllie Bates

Co-Designing for Healthcare: Why it's crucial for effective E-Learning

E-learning has become an essential tool for healthcare professionals to keep themselves updated and to improve patient outcomes. However, not all e-learning solutions are created equal. It's important to design e-learning courses that meet the specific needs and challenges of healthcare professionals and patients. And that's where co-design comes in.

Hands writing on coloured post-it notes titled: Competence, assessment, learning objectives

What is co-design?

Co-design is an approach in which stakeholders, including end users, actively participate in the design process to create a product, service or system that meets their needs and preferences. In the context of e-learning for healthcare professionals, this means involving healthcare professionals and patients in the design process to create more effective and relevant e-learning solutions.

For EL Learning Design it's not just about creating a product, it's about creating a solution that will be embraced and used by healthcare professionals and patients. By involving them in the design process, we can create e-learning solutions that are tailored to their specific needs, resulting in better performance and outcomes.


Why Is Co-Designing So Important?

Designing high quality e-learning for healthcare professionals is crucial to make sure they have the knowledge and skills necessary to provide the best possible care for their patients. By including the perspectives of a variety of stakeholders, such as patients and multi-disciplinary colleagues, in the design process, we can create comprehensive courses that offer multiple perspectives. This approach not only makes the courses more patient-centered, but it also helps to develop empathy for different perspectives and motivations.

Co-designing e-learning solutions is an exciting opportunity to gain a deep understanding of the specific needs and challenges that healthcare professionals may face in their work. By addressing these challenges, we can create e-learning courses that lead to sustained change and ensure that healthcare professionals are well-equipped to provide the best possible care for their patients.

However, co-designing is not a simple process, and as experienced practitioners, we understand that it can come with its own set of challenges. Below, we highlight some examples of common obstacles we've encountered and provide suggestions on how to navigate them for a smoother, more productive process that ultimately yields successful results.

Tip 1: Equal Opportunities

Three cartoon characters in a video call call, two engaged healthcare professional and one unhappy patient

At EL Learning Design, we are passionate about ensuring that all stakeholders have an equal opportunity to contribute to the design process. However, different stakeholders may have different needs and sometimes you may need to adapt your approach to ensure that individuals feel comfortable to share their perspectives. For example, in one of our projects, we took extra steps to gather patient feedback separately because we noticed that they were not as confident to share their experiences in online stakeholder meetings.

We used a variety of innovative technologies such as collaborative documents, polls, and individual interviews to collect input that might be difficult gather in a meeting. Sharing this with all stakeholders during the early stages of the design process can build awareness of a range of perspectives. This rich design context has enabled exciting opportunity for us to think outside the box and to ensure that all voices were heard. Strategies such as creating specific roles and responsibilities for each stakeholder also encourages more active participation and ensuring that everyone had an equal opportunity to contribute.

Tip 2: Active Listening and Open Communication

Female animated character listening to feedback from various hands some agreeing, some disagreeing

It's essential to encourage open communication and active listening among all stakeholders to ensure that everyone's perspectives are heard and understood. Active listening is the process of fully understanding and engaging with what another person is saying by giving them your full attention and responding thoughtfully.

To manage conflicting input, we recommend using a decision-making process that involves all stakeholders. This can include holding group discussions, conducting surveys and polls, or using consensus-building techniques. By involving all stakeholders in the decision-making process, we can ensure that everyone's input is considered and that the final decision reflects the perspectives of all stakeholders.

Additionally, it's also important to be transparent about the decision-making process and the reasons behind the final decision. This can help to build trust and understanding among stakeholders, and increase buy-in for the final e-learning solution.

Tip 3: Combine with Agile Processes

Animated laptop screen showing an agile process on a background of question marks

At EL Learning Design, we incorporate an agile project management approach that enables us to adapt and improve the e-learning solution in iterations. This approach allows for regular check-ins and feedback from healthcare professionals and patients throughout the design process, providing more opportunities for their input to be incorporated and for stakeholders to feel like they are actively contributing to the design process.

By combining co-design with an agile approach, we can ensure that the e-learning solution meets the evolving needs and preferences of healthcare professionals and patients. This leads to a more effective and efficient design process, resulting in a better e-learning solution that addresses the specific needs of healthcare professionals and patients.

Tip 4: Use Collaborative Technologies

Animated character making notes sitting at a computer desk with various feedback technologies surrounding her including videos, ratings and instant messages

Tools such as online whiteboards, project management software, and virtual meeting platforms are essential in facilitating collaboration and communication between stakeholders throughout the design process. At EL Learning Design, we use these technologies in different phases of the design process, from gathering and organising feedback to prototyping and testing.

We understand that onboarding and ensuring stakeholders are confident in using these technologies is key to facilitate participation and make the design process run seamlessly. Working with busy healthcare professionals it is important to maximize their time and tools that allow for asynchronous collaboration are key for making the design process more efficient.

Tip 5: Maximise the Expertise of all Parties

Animated female character talking on a video call, sharing a video with participants with EL Learning Design logo in background

When co-designing e-learning solutions, it's crucial to maximize the expertise of all parties involved in the process. This includes not just the design and e-learning experts, but also subject matter experts such as healthcare professionals and patients.

To ensure effective collaboration we provide subject matter experts with resources and support, such as case study templates, recording preliminary interviews, and encourage sharing additional resources early in the design process. This eliminates the need for subject matter experts to learn a whole new set of skills and allows them to focus on their area of expertise.

As experts in healthcare education, we are better placed than most e-learning companies to facilitate this type of effective collaboration, this allows us greater opportunities for innovation

Take Action: Co-designing E-learning Solutions

Are you ready to take the next step in creating effective and impactful e-learning solutions for healthcare professionals? At EL Learning Design, we have extensive experience in co-designing e-learning solutions and we can help you navigate the challenges that come with it. By following the tips and learning shared in this blog post and working with us, you can create e-learning courses that are tailored to the specific needs of healthcare professionals and patients, leading to better performance and outcomes. Don't hesitate to contact us to learn more about how we can support you in co-designing e-learning solutions that make a real difference in healthcare.

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