Adaptive Scenarios: A Training Model for Today's Public Health Workforce

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Introduction:With the current economic climate, money for training is scarce. In addition, time is a major barrier to participation in trainings. To meet the public health workforce's rising demand for training, while struggling with less time and fewer resources, the Upper Midwest Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center* has developed a model of online training that provides the public health workforce with individually customized, needs-based training experiences.Background/Rationale:Adaptive scenarios are rooted in case-based reasoning, a learning approach that focuses on the specific knowledge needed to solve a problem. Proponents of case-based reasoning argue that learners benefit from being able to remember previous similar situations and reusing information and knowledge from that situation. Adaptive scenarios based on true-to-life job performance provide an opportunity to assess skills by presenting the user with choices to make in a problem-solving context.Methods/Activities:A team approach was used to develop the adaptive scenarios. Storylines were developed that incorporated situations aligning with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes outlined in the Public Health Preparedness and Response Core Competency Model. This article examines 2 adaptive scenarios: “Ready or Not? A Family Preparedness Scenario” and “Responding to a Crisis: Managing Emotions and Stress Scenario.”Results/Outcomes:The scenarios are available on Upper Midwest Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center's Learning Management System, the Training Source ( Evaluation data indicate that users' experiences have been positive.Discussion:Integrating the assessment and training elements of the scenarios so that the training experience is uniquely adaptive to each user is one of the most efficient ways to provide training. The opportunity to provide individualized, needs-based training without having to administer separate assessments has the potential to save time and resources.Lessons Learned/Next Steps:These adaptive scenarios continue to be marketed to target audiences through partner organizations, various Web sites, electronic newsletters, and social media. Next steps include the implementation of a 6-month follow-up evaluation, using Kirkpatrick level III. Kirkpatrick level III evaluation measures whether there was actual transfer of learning to the work setting.

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