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Health Care Education in the Digital Age

Health Care Education in the Digital Age

Once upon a time, learning was done in person. Students would go to class in a classroom, and if you missed the class, you missed the lesson.

Papers were researched in libraries, maybe even using a card catalog to figure out where to find the book you were looking for. And that paper you were writing? You had to turn in an actual paper copy to your instructor. Maybe you actually had to draft it on a typewriter, back when computers were the size of entire rooms and could do less work than a scientific calculator can do now.

It might seem like such a long time ago, but it really isn’t. Technology has, of course, become an essential part of just about every aspect of our lives. And today, just about any piece of information that you could ever need can literally fit in your pocket.

These changes obviously affect how we interact with institutions like schools, from online applications and virtual admissions interviews to digital student services. But it’s also affected the way in which we learn.

Entering the Virtual Classroom

Distance education certainly isn’t new—correspondence courses and other learning exercises have been around with help from postal mail for many years. And even their digital counterparts aren’t exactly a novelty in 2021, but what is changing before our very eyes is their ubiquity.

Online education programs aren’t just an outlier anymore because they are becoming the norm. This trend was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced schools to close in response to stay-at-home mandates and lockdown orders all across the country. But schools took this obstacle and made it an opportunity.

Career training institutions stepped up to the challenge by quickly putting additional content online for student access, transferring administrative processes and student services to a virtual environment, and reassuring current and prospective students that their education could continue—even without being able to step foot in a classroom.

Leveraging the Hybrid Model

“That’s great,” you might be saying. “But don’t health care students have to, you know, interact with people?”

One of the most valuable assets of career and technical education is the ability to get hands-on training that will prepare you for the workforce. A phlebotomy student can learn about the mechanics of blood testing on a computer screen, but, at some point, they’ll need to learn how to actually perform a blood draw.

This is where hybrid models come in. Students can participate in all of the lecture-watching, textbook-reading, note-taking, and discussion-having parts of school from home—and they can visit an in-person classroom when it’s time to practice the practical parts.

This can help maintain physical distancing standards and other health guidelines during years like 2021, but it also affords students some additional flexibility. Instead of heading to campus three days a week, for instance, perhaps they only need to attend in-person sessions once a week.

Online Student Support Services

It’s not just lectures and discussions that have moved to a digital format. Schools have found that admissions processes, financial aid applications, tutoring and academic support, and even career services may actually work better in an online format.

One of the biggest hurdles to accessing student support services has often been the scheduling aspect. It has typically required coordinating calendars, driving to campus, finding parking, and other logistics. But if you can attend your enrollment interview via teleconference or access library materials from a laptop, that’s a huge time (and stress) savings.

And those benefits can make all the difference for students who are juggling work and family responsibilities too. Career and technical education has long been designed to benefit those who want to jumpstart a new career (or career chapter) more quickly than traditional university programs, and this is one more way that schools are following through on that promise.

Investing in Your Future

Through increasing demand—and our ever-changing times—there are more opportunities than ever before to invest in your future through online education, often even leading to faster job placement. In as little as six months or a year, you can study right from your own home to earn a certificate or diploma that can help you get started in a health care career.

What’s more? Before the age of digital technology, most students’ education was left to the teachers and peers within one program at one school. Now, there are vast resources right at your fingertips. Discussion forums, message boards, rapid communication through email or text, social media platforms, virtual libraries, extra video and transcript lessons, online tutoring—the list goes on.

Are you ready to take advantage of education in the digital age in order to start a health care career? The Imagine America Foundation has a robust network of schools that offer the hands-on training you need to begin!

Find the right program for you—and then be sure to apply to our scholarship programs to help make school more affordable.

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