Virtual Classroom Training Program Provides on-Demand Access and Flexibility for Tissue Authorization Professionals

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IntroductionSince 2004, an international training institute has educated more than 8,000 organ and tissue donation professionals in traditional classroom settings. In 2014, institute launched a Virtual Classroom Training (VCT) initiative using combination of eLearning modules, instructor-led webinars, threaded discussion boards, online assignments and assessments. The central aim of the institute is to provide relevant, consistent and on-demand training to donation communities worldwide to improve donation outcomes. In an effort to provide access to a broader audience, institute developed the VCT for tissue authorization professionals. The VCT allows organ procurement organization (OPO) professionals to participate in learning opportunities without traveling, thus relieving the OPO of the stress of finding coverage for absent staff and allowing professionals to slowly integrate acquired knowledge and skills into daily functions to increase authorization rates.MethodsIn 2014, the institute surveyed OPO leadership and found 85% said they would be more inclined to have their staff participate in a VCT as opposed to two-day onsite workshop at institute due to challenges of travel and time away associated with training. As a result of survey, the institute reviewed its traditional two-day classroom training and incorporated best practices for online learning to create a six week VCT. Each VCT introduces skills and knowledge required to provide timely, compassionate and informed tissue donation opportunities; learners spend 2-3 hours each week participating and completing assignments. Each week there is a live webinar, threaded discussions, reading assignments and assessments. Participants are required to upload family conversation audio recordings to designated Learning Management System, including turning neutral language statements to value-positive statements, and informing the family of first-person designation.ResultsSince 2014, six tissue authorization VCTs have been conducted; 44 professionals from 19 OPOs have completed the program. Mid-term and final exams are given online, with average score of 91.1%. Participants must complete a post-VCT evaluation in order to receive 21.6 CTBS credits from the American Association of Tissue Banks. When asked if they would take another VCT if offered in the future, 70.9% of participants said yes.ConclusionVCT provides opportunity for authorization professionals to participate in blended learning environment that increases knowledge and skills, minimizes scheduling needs, and decreases budgetary requirements for tuition and travel, while allowing the professional to integrate the knowledge they are receiving on a weekly basis with the goal of increasing donation outcomes.

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