Mission Critical Online Learning

University Health System turns to gamification, simulations and more

Imagine having to train around 8000 staff, providers, students, and residents to be able to step into a new hospital, including moving critical care patients, and be able to immediately manage as if they have been working in the new facility for years. This is when online learning becomes mission critical and can’t fail. The University Health System in San Antonio, Texas was faced with this task and it seemed insurmountable.

As they prepared to move into a new 1 million square foot facility called Sky Tower, the expectation had been set that would require extensive training. Some training could be done in person but a large percentage had to be done online. The move was to take place while the critical care hospital was in full operation, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Not only would they have only a 12-hour window to move everything such as equipment and machines, but also they must transfer critical patients as well those on life support. AND…. In the midst of moving, they must operate as normal, meaning all personnel must know the new facility as if they have been working in it for years.

The new facility, a Level 1 Trauma Center, was double the size of the current one to which they were accustomed. This required massive training and organization. According to Jacque Burandt, the Executive Director for the Center of Learning Excellence, the numbers speak for themselves. 1 million square feet of new space; 783,000 contractor hours worked; 4.4 million total worked hours moving 21,400 pieces of equipment, 12,000 pieces of furniture, 1,100 pieces of art, 1,299 new desktops, 35 imaging PCs, 293 wall mounted PCs, 107 new laptops, 39 iPads, 209 extra monitors, 1,497 speakers, 446 mobile workstations on wheels and many other items.

Look at the numbers of people to train and the others involved in the move; 6,250 staff, 1,400 providers, 2,158 students, 200 medical residents, as well as patients, visitors, vendors, volunteers, clergy, etc. With the magnitude of an undertaking this great, Jacque knew it would take a blended learning approach with an emphasis on the online component.

She created an interdisciplinary team and launched the Get Your Move On! learning project. A Transition Management Task Force on Training met with the directors of every department to develop a comprehensive role-learning design plan. They blended multiple modalities to deliver the training including simulations, codes and drills, eLearning, website repository, and virtual tour gamification module. With the building under construction, being able to provide live tours for the number of people involved and for those who could not leave their post was impossible.

The online virtual tour simulation was the only way to meet the demand of creating an experience that was as close to real as possible. The Blueprint of Excellence for the Get Your Move On! project was a great success with over 18,500 hours of learning completed with the move completed, on time, within budget and run like clockwork.

The move was so successful; the University Health System’s Center of Learning Excellence won national recognition from Association for Training and Development (ATD) making the front cover of their T&D Magazine.

Most recently, they received recognition for their redesigned onboarding program that addresses a 40 percent increase in hiring as the result of a product line expansion. The new orientation—called The Journey Begins Now—was designed by a cross-functional team and uses gamification and emphasizes connection, over compliance.

The University Health System training under the care of Dr. Jacqueline Burandt deserves an “excellent bill of health” for outstanding innovation in online learning.

The University Health System Center for Learning Excellence was faced with a task that seemed insurmountable. As they prepared to occupy a new one million square foot facility called Sky Tower, the expectation had been set for moving that would require extensive training.

The transition from the old facility to the new one had to be done while the critical care hospital was in full operation, 24/7/365. Not only would they have a 12-hour window to move everything such as equipment and machines, but also must transfer critical patients including those on life support. In the midst of moving, they had the additional pressure of continued operation as normal, meaning all personnel must know the new hospital environment as if they have been working in it for years. The new facility, a Level 1 Trauma Center, was double the size of the current one to which they were accustomed. This required massive training and organization.

In essence, all of the moving parts, pieces and people, had to come together flawlessly to accomplish this tremendous task. They had to deliver safe and efficient care throughout the entire process.

Virtual World Gamification for Online Tour

With the building under construction, being able to provide live tours for the number of people involved and for those who cannot leave their post was impossible. The online virtual tour was the only way to meet the demand to create an experience that was as close to real as possible.

According to Jacque Burandt, the Executive Director for the Center of Learning Excellence, the numbers speak for themselves. 1 million square feet of new space; 783,000 contractor hours worked; 4.4 million total worked hours; 21,400 pieces of equipment; 12,000 pieces of furniture; 1,100 pieces of art, 1,299 new desktops, 35 imaging PCs, 293 wall mounted PCs, 107 new laptops, 39 iPads, 209 extra monitors, 1,497 speakers, 446 mobile workstations on wheels and many other items.

And then, of course, the people involved; 6,250 staff, 1,400 providers, 2,158 students, 200 medical residents, as well as patients, visitors, vendors, volunteers, clergy, etc.

Blended Learning Approach

With the magnitude of an undertaking this great, Jacque knew it would take a blended learning approach with an emphasis on the online component. She created an interdisciplinary team and launched the Get Your Move On! learning project. A “Transition Management Task Force on Training” met with the directors of every department to develop a comprehensive role-learning design plan. The results was a blended approach with simulations, codes and drills, eLearning, website repository, and virtual tour gamification module.

The Blueprint of Excellence for the Get Your Move On! project was a great success with over 18,500 hours of learning accomplished and the move completed, on time, within budget and run like clockwork. Not only did they accomplish all they set out to do with great success, but they were able to save roughly $16,000 in travel costs by using online and video-based learning.

Gamification Onboarding for Employee Engagement

Additionally, the center won an “LearningElite” recognition as a best company in learning development for the redesigned their onboarding program to address a 40 percent increase in hiring as the result of a product line expansion. According the Chief Learning Officer, “The new orientation—called The Journey Begins Now—was designed by a cross-functional team and uses gamification and emphasizes connection over compliance. Thanks to the new orientation system, employee engagement and efficiency both increased, with 9 out of ten new hires coming away from the training engaged and knowledgeable. The average retention score for 90-day employees is now 91 percent.”

The University Health System’s award winning approach is innovation through online learning at its best. This is a fine example from which educators can learn. A hospital system has quite successfully used online learning to educate the masses when it was mission critical that learning outcomes meet 100 percent of the objectives. Congratulations to a job well done!