Tips for Transitioning to Online Training (and how simulation can help)

Updated: Jun 26, 2020

In the days to come, COVID-19 is becoming more and more prevalent and Universities, Colleges, and workplaces are taking the necessary precautions to keep the public safe. Unfortunately, this can lead to disruptions in day-to-day work that now needs to be accommodated to be performed remotely.

For our colleagues in teaching and education, this may mean shifting courses online and creating new ways to communicate their curriculum and knowledge. For something as hands-on as hearing healthcare, this can come as quite a challenge. Without having every student in the teaching lab with you, how do you give them the experience required?

In the points below, we wanted to offer some suggestions and strategies for online lessons, by following hands-on best practices using simulation.

1. Livestream/Webinar your Teaching Lab

Consider including a hands-on demonstration within your online lesson. The more hands-on these lessons are and the more the student can ‘picture’ themselves doing the same, and the more the lesson will stick with them. The move towards experiential learning as well as lecture-based narrating over slides is just as important when we look towards online teaching.

Whenever possible, use video streaming during the class time instead of pre-recorded videos. This allows for students to engage with you directly, ask questions immediately as they come, and even ask you to demonstrate how a specific procedure looks. Livestreaming also lets your students feel more as if they are there with you. As an additional bonus, this is likely the least amount of effort that is required to adjust your teaching to online! You can keep the same lessons, the same hands-on instructions, but now you personally perform them all and show them to your students.

Instead of pointing at the equipment and trying to place the equipment on your own head, CARL offers a ‘sterile patient’ which you can use to demonstrate all your procedures while livestreaming! Are you trying to teach the intricacies of venting and feedback challenges for high-gain hearing aids on-ear in your online class? Demonstrate it on CARL and listen to your students in real-time. Let them request demonstrations or clarification and demonstrate what ‘Getting it Wrong’ looks like. Having CARL in the screen can instantly bring a more experiential approach to these topics (see below).

Resources: In our experience, most schools and institutions have their own preferred video/live streaming service. If you are required to independently pick one on your own, here are a couple of suggestions - Youtube Live, Facebook Live, Periscope (Twitter), Adobe Connect, and Vidyard. If Google classroom is in use, you can automatically connect your Live video to the lesson page for that particular class. Livestreams can be in varying forms, including using your phone with the Youtube App, or with a dedicated webcam from a laptop/computer.

Alternative: If a livestream is not an option for you, you can still follow the livestream format, but as a pre-recorded video. This would not allow the students to engage directly with you, but following the live-format with a follow-up online chat allows for several of the advantages above.

2. Record the sessions and key-mark specific times

While the live-streaming and having your students engage while you’re going through the lesson is invaluable, having the video after the ‘livestream/webinar’ is complete is just as important. Particularly when students are able to come back into the University, they can re-play the entire livestream and practice exactly what you did in the video. Having it initially livestreamed helps the student since it is all recorded in real-time meaning, they can follow along directly with the video without having to continually pause it and go back.

With a recorded video, also make sure that you look over the video briefly before posting it after the livestream and mark key times. You’ll see this common on other livestreams or on longer Youtube videos where they mark times in which a change of topic occurs. This means that if you had an hour livestream for a class, you’ll have more than likely covered a couple of topics. Mark where each new topic started (ex. Venting example 2: starts at 32:15) so if students had confusion about one part, they can immediately jump to that part and begin their studying/practicing.

Finally, while this may seem obvious, make sure that students get access to this video throughout their entire education! As a student myself not too long ago, it was always helpful to be able to go back and reference old lectures as the topic comes up in the ‘real-world’. Particularly with well-labeled livestreamed videos for each lesson, this would help students a lot.

3. CARL Optional - Have CARL available for a hands-on trial of the lesson

Assuming that students will have access to CARL and practice equipment on their own time, creating an online ‘sign-out sheet’ for the lab setting would be the next best step. With CARL and a specified schedule to make sure students do not enter the lab at the same time, students can enter the lab completely independent from their classmates and work with CARL through the lesson in the most confined place possible. Having the livestream available, students can walk through the entire lesson with the exact same CARL manikin as shown in the video. This means if the student does the activity directly from the video, they should see identical results as shown by the instructor in the livestream. If they don’t, they can troubleshoot it themselves.

Providing students the ability to independently practice their techniques in the lab with a wealth of videos and information is the best next alternative to having an instructor there to ask questions. In some situations, it can even be better since they are comfortable and are not scared of ‘messing something up in front of the instructor’. They can build confidence on their own before an evaluation, or before their clinical practicum.

If your institution will allow for this ‘booking of the hands-on lab/CARL’ be sure to follow proper sanitization procedures. You can instruct students to use blue latex gloves when using the CARL, or institute a cleaning procedure each time the CARL is used consisting of wet wiping the CARL head, and cleaning and soaking the ears with antibacterial soap and hot water.

Things are still unfolding day-by-day, but by using these suggestions when switching to an online teaching method, we can maintain experiential learning even while following recommendations for social distancing. Whether your institution continued to run labs with smaller groups, or whether you will return to lab teaching at a later time, CARL can help provide hands-on learning with significant support and infection control.


Do you have any direct questions about how to use CARL for your online teaching? Contact with any questions and we will be happy to help out!

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