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Adapting to Online Learning and Finding CE Programs

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The coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed the landscape of our lives in every way. Finding accessible and affordable continuing education units (CEUs) during this time can seem like a daunting task for Athletic Trainers (ATs). As BOC Approved Providers have shifted their delivery options for education events there are more and more online programs being offered. While these alternatives may not feel as comfortable initially, they can be a great, flexible and cost-effective solution to fulfilling continuing education (CE) requirements during these uncertain times.

ATs prove to be very adaptable health care professionals with daily schedules that are rarely the same and shifts caused by patient load changes, weather delays, cancellations, reschedules and more. With a toolbox that is ready for every possible situation, ATs are adaptable and flexible making online learning an ideal option. Taking this same approach to continued competence and professional learning allows for advancement during this pandemic and beyond.

Adapting to Online Learning

Research shows the biggest determinant of successful online learning, compared to face-to-face (F2F) learning, is self-regulation. Self-regulation is the ability to self-govern, manage your time and priorities, and create your own goals. This requires a person to plan their time and requires them to foster intrinsic motivation. Hold yourself accountable and actively participate in each facet of a program. Finding your CE program is half the battle (see below for tips), but you must also equip yourself with the appropriate learning strategy, given the delivery of the program.

Virtual learning also requires the learner to adopt some different learning strategies than they would if they were attending a F2F program. Consider your note-taking strategy during a webinar or another virtual program. Rather than writing down a keyword or an inspiring sentence, every few minutes, ask yourself: What’s the point? The idea is to enable your ability to summarize the main takeaways in your own words. Summarization, also known as “generalization”, not only aids a learner as they learn, but also increases one’s ability to retain and then recall their learning at a later date.

Additional tips to create success in virtual education is to establish a functional learning space and eliminate distractions. Reducing the feeling of isolation by leveraging connections within an online learning community can prove as a strong motivator to achieve success.

Best Way to find CE Programs

On demand programs offer flexibility and self-paced learning. There is a vast range of options, a wide variety of topics and perspectives as well as cost-effective choices to fulfill requirements.

The brand-new program directory is the one-stop-shop for all your CE needs. There is no more need to do a random web search or to default to programs that you’ve attended in past years. The new program directory houses every approved Category A and EBP CE option available for ATs both in the United States and internationally, offered by over 600 BOC Approved Providers.

Drill down and search for programs using the dozens of fields provided or keep your search wide open and peruse away for programs that will help you continue to gain professional competence and meet CE requirements.

The article was originally published in the 2020 winter "Cert Update" newsletter.

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