Traditional classroom learning in a higher education, or vocational training institution prepares medical assistant students to anticipate, respond and relate to situations that typically arise at their intended future workplace. Vocational training instructors provide the student-teacher interaction that inspires and facilitates instant feedback. Student medical assistants are introduced to realistic medical office case scenarios, modern work technologies, hands-on care techniques, clinical and administrative skills and the opportunity to be directly involved in their learning experience while solidifying essential skills.
Vocational Training Through Online Learning
[sociallocker]An astonishing number of post-secondary vocational students find the possibility of earning a certificate, diploma, or degree without ever stepping into a classroom attractive, however, earning a medical assistant certificate or diploma from a corner desk in your living room without direct personal contact and interaction from your instructors and peers might be a bit more challenging than imagined and certainly will set the tone once work begins the intended job.
Classroom vs. Online Instruction
The classroom provides medical assistant students with the student teacher interaction, whereas medical assistant online programs only deliver theory based education from a computer screen for self-study.
Medical assisting training focuses on learning skilled tasks and certain hands-on routines that consist of direct patient care; it also involves medical treatment modalities with specific methods, motor skills, and body techniques. Despite of high-tech IT delivery methods of sophisticated online programs distance education can hardly ever adequately simulate the problems and challenges encountered on the work place, and neither can they observe the student, and correct mistakes.
Online programs have their pros and cons. While they provide a certain amount of freedom, they also carry certain limitations, such as “reality!”. Hardly any distance education program can throw students into unforeseen case scenarios that can typically arise at any given moment-especially those that are emergencies on a medical floor-to solidify critical skills, and practice fast decision making.
|Dave Smulders, Editor of Learning Resources Unit, British Columbia Institute of Technology: Designing for Learners, Designing for Users (eLearn Magazine):
“Among other things, learning involves the processing of information from one’s short-term to long-term memory. In order to acquire and retain knowledge, learners need to engage with material, review it and refer to it as they see fit.”
Even the best simulations and animations provided online can hardly measure up to realistic workplace scenarios discussed in a group and practiced to perfection as a team utilizing a classroom setting and role play. One-on-one training provided in the classroom under the guidance of a qualified instructor can hardly ever equal a canned “one size fits all” online program where the student is left to his own vices and interpretations. Classes are generally more successful when students feel connected and learn by doing.
Why Distance Education?
There is no denying that distance education is ideal for those with busy schedules and fast lifestyles. It provides students with the convenience, flexibility, and ability to study anywhere at any time without having to deal with traffic and weathering a storm on the way to the campus. Indeed, there are many excellent distance education programs that inspire and guide the right people to a better future and career…
[/sociallocker]The Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) has published the so-called “Recognition Chart” potential students can print out for reference to better assess a qualified school and their programs, and here is a noteworthy article by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC):
What Does Accreditation Mean to You?