Continuing education is an essential part of the professional development of any nurse. It allows you to keep up with advancements in technology and practice, provides opportunities for networking with colleagues and peers, and helps you succeed in your career. Here are some keys to creating a successful continuing education program:
Have a Plan
The most important component of your continuing education program is having a plan. A good plan will ensure that you’re reaching the right audience with the right message and providing them with meaningful value. If you don’t have a plan, then it’s likely that your time and money will be wasted as employees filter out what they don’t want to hear and ignore everything else–or worse yet, they won’t even show up!
A good plan includes:
- A clear mission statement that states why your organization is offering this training in the first place (e.g., “to improve customer service by helping our agents better understand our products”).
- An overview of the topics being covered so participants know what to expect when they arrive at class (e.g., “this session covers how to use social media tools for customer service purposes”).
Know Your Audience
You can’t reach your target audience if you don’t know who they are. This is an obvious point, but it’s also one of the most important steps in developing a successful continuing education program. If you don’t know your audience, how do you expect to tailor your content to their needs? You need to understand what type of information they need and how they will use this information once they receive it. Your goal is not just to give them some new knowledge; rather, it should be geared toward helping them achieve specific goals (such as improving productivity or efficiency). Finally, consider what level of expertise exists within this group–is everyone at the same stage in their career? Or does one person have more experience than another?
Make it Relevant
The first key to an effective continuing education program is relevance. When you make your content relevant, you’ll be able to engage your learners and help them learn more effectively.
The importance of relevance in continuing education is often overlooked, but it’s essential for creating a plan that works. If you want to create a good program or even a great one, then making sure that everything from the content down through the evaluation process is relevant will help ensure success at every step along the way!
Focus on the Skill Development
The most important aspect of any continuing education program is the skill development. The focus should be on improving the skills and knowledge of your workforce, not just providing them with new information. When you measure the effectiveness of your program, make sure that you’re looking at how many employees have improved their skills in relation to their original performance levels.
For example, let’s say we have two employees who are both great at their jobs: one has been working with us for 10 years and has always been a top performer but could use some help in his sales numbers; another employee has only been with us for six months but has been consistently surpassing expectations across all areas of her responsibilities
Flexibility is a key component of any successful continuing education program.
- Flexibility in the schedule can help to make your program more accessible to a wider audience.
- For example, if you are offering an evening class that meets on weeknights, but many of your students have jobs or other commitments that prevent them from attending those classes, consider offering some daytime classes as well. This will allow those who work during the day to attend and participate more easily than if they were forced into taking night classes every week.
- Similarly, if there are certain times when people simply cannot attend due to other obligations (such as children), then try scheduling sessions at different times throughout each month so that everyone has an opportunity at least once each month without having to take off from work or school just for this purpose alone!
Keep it Short and Sweet
The most effective continuing education programs are the ones that keep it short and sweet. The goal of a continuing education program is to provide your employees with valuable information in an engaging manner, so they can apply it to their jobs on the job site. The best way to accomplish this is by keeping things simple and concise rather than overloading them with too much information at once.
The best way not to waste time during a training session is by getting right down into what matters most: what is going on in your company? How does this affect our day-to-day activities? What do we need to do differently now that there has been an update in our field or industry? If you’re running through slides about every single aspect of your business or industry, then yes–you’re probably going overboard! Focus instead on what really matters for each individual employee (for example: “Here’s how our new computer system works…”).
The keys to an effective continuing education program include having a plan, knowing your audience, making it relevant, focusing on the skill development, being flexible, and keeping it short and sweet.
The keys to an effective continuing education program include having a plan, knowing your audience, making it relevant, focusing on skill development and being flexible.
The first step in developing any training or educational program is determining what your goals are for the session or workshop. For example: Do you want participants to learn about a new technology or process? Do they need more information about how something works? Or maybe their current skills need updating so that they can perform better at work or be more productive at home (e.g., cooking). Once you know what type of information will help them achieve these objectives then it’s time to determine who is taking part in this event/class/lecture series etc…
It’s important to know who will be attending because each person has different needs based upon their job function within your organization as well as their own personal interests outside of work hours (for example: some people may have children while others do not).
Continuing education is a critical component of professional development and career success. It can help you keep up with changes in your field, keep your skills up-to-date and relevant, and set yourself apart from other candidates when applying for jobs or promotions. The keys to an effective continuing education program include having a plan, knowing your audience, making it relevant, focusing on skill development (including online courses), being flexible with timing and location options, keeping it short and sweet–and most importantly: doing it regularly!