Learning New Things While in COVID-19 Self Quarantine

What strange and uncertain times we live in and I am amazed at how fast, the last week has changed the world. It was just over a week ago that I left for a March Break ski vacation with my family and some friends. When we got off the plane my son’s phone rang and it was his friend informing him that another 2 weeks of vacation, had been added to the March Break due to COVID-19. That was only one short week ago, and since then it feels like life as we know it, has been completely changed forever.

One of the other people we were travelling with, works for a large Canadian bank in marketing. She was surprised to note that the participation rates for all of her research studies had actually gone through the roof once people had been asked to go into self-quarantine in Ontario. In fact, her credit card research studies had higher participations rates, than there have been in years. Pondering about this, she suspected that because most businesses have come to a grinding halt, people were bored at home, and some were completing surveys to pass the time.

Given the need for social distancing, many of us have time these days, so much in fact, that many of us are bored and are looking for new things to do. A few years ago, the team at Pathways paired up with St John’s Ambulance to develop Canada’s first 360-degree virtual reality eLearning module on what to do in a mass casualty situation. Not only is it interesting for learning professionals, because it represents a learning technology that is being used in Europe and the U.S.A., but VR for learning it is something new, that is not widely used here in Canada. It is also interesting from a learning experience because many of us wouldn’t know what to do, or who to help if we find ourselves in a situation where many people are injured all at once.

This VR eLearning stimulation, is designed to be a hands-on learning experience whereby you learn by trial and error in figuring out who to help when many people are injured at once (hint – in a mass casualty situation, the most injured person is not always the first person you help. It took me several failed attempts before I figured this out). if you have virtual reality googles you can experience the module in VR an it will feel like you are right in the Rogers Arena in Vancouver where this was filmed and if you don’t have VR googles you can still experience the effects of using 360 video for eLearning (another innovative learning technology, that we think will be used more and more in the future).

Click on this link to experience the mass casualty situation.

Given the current business situation and the fact that people now have more time to learn, we will be recreating an eLearning module next week on hand washing that was created years ago for a health care organization that was looking to share knowledge about hand washing techniques with the general public (I remember thinking at the time how could I possibly come up with enough content to create a 30 minute eLearning course on this topic, but there is actually a lot of information that can be shared about what good hand washing techniques look like. Spoiler alert do you know that the time to wash your hands should be as long as signing the entire “Happy Birthday” song or the “ABC” song).

On a personal level, while I have worked in the eLearning industry for over 14 years as an instructional designer and project manager, I have never had the opportunity (or quite frankly the time) to learn how to program eLearning courses myself and I am told by my team that Adobe Storyline 360 is a very intuitive and easy tool to use. While working from home and having some extra time, I am going to take this opportunity to learn how to use this tool and I will be blogging about my experiences over the coming weeks.

Wishing you all the best for safe health and happy learning!

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