ASPE 2011 Conference Gem

By Jamie Pitt

“Integrating Online Training into your SP Training Curriculum” workshop at ASPE 2011 in Nashville covered topics of great interest to any program looking for ways to save money and maximize SP training time. This presentation by Angela Blood, Kaitlin Ibara (not present), Kris Slawinski, and Deni Mayer promised to introduce us to technical innovations, provide a step-by-step guide, facilitate a philosophical discussion about the use of technology in SP training, and share the best practices/challenges in implementing online training to an SP Program. The presenters detailed each step taken, from acquiring funding/justifying need and getting SPs to “buy in”; to showing a selection of sample online training materials they created. The detail and care they gave to each topic was enough to make even the staunchest of Luddites convert! They shared helpful tips such as:

  • The results of SP surveys given to determine comfort level with technology, learning style, and satisfaction with current training. For example: If SPs had dial up internet connection they might not be able to access video easily.
  • Affordable ways to make videos. For example:  Use SPs who are filmmakers/actors (thus have the equipment & necessary skills) to create training videos.
  • Ways to get SPs on board. For example: Allow SPs to “test out” of basic training classes by taking an online pretest which can  save money  and/or prove that the SP does/does not know the case as well as they think they do!
  • When it is appropriate to create a video and when it isn’t. For example: it’s best to create videos for cases that will be used regularly to maximize resources.

Thanks to this workshop and the comprehensive handout detailing software, cost, and website tools I’ve created and edited training videos for SPs and students, am scheduling SPs exclusively through an online site, and have created a new online application/screening questionnaire, in addition to having created and sent various surveys.

Specific software covered in the workshop that I now use includes:

  • Google forms– New job application created that links to an excel document, thus no double entering info, just upload the excel doc to create the SP profile. This replaced an existing paper application.
  • Survey Monkey– Online survey tool used to screen applicants for basic skills
  • Doodle– Electronic- Used for efficient online SP scheduling, eliminating tedious availability tracking via tons of email
  • Final Cut Pro– Used to edit training videos created.
  • Screencast– Used to create “how to” videos for SPs and Faculty.

I hope to see future presentations from Angela, Kris, and Deni about how these online training tools have influenced SP performance, accuracy, and reliability across their program.

Was there an ASPE conference workshop or presentation that you found particularly helpful? Did you bring a “gem” of information home to use in your SP program? Even small tips shared by a colleague can be memorable and useful on a practical level.  If you are using a gem gleaned from your time at a conference, share it with the membership in ASPE NEWS Conference Gem column.

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