D2L was also the only LMS provider that talked to us about privacy and security laws—and that’s huge for a healthcare organization.Dr. Jenelle Hodges, Director of Digital Learning
Digital Education On A Global Scale
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is the professional organization for Chief Information Officers and other senior IT leaders in the healthcare sector. For nearly 30 years, CHIME has grown its global membership by providing insight, education, and peer-to-peer networking to healthcare executives around the globe, especially through international conferences and other face-to-face events.
Dr. Tim Stettheimer, Vice President of Education, explains: “The global healthcare community is enormous, and it’s growing as society’s healthcare needs grow. Our goal is to reach out beyond our existing membership of executives to a broader audience of healthcare professionals—which means expanding our education offerings by a factor of 100 or more. The only way we can do that is through a digital platform.”
CHIME wants to ensure that its digital education strategy will deliver just as much value to members as its existing face-to-face events, which focus on personal interaction and helping members build new relationships with their peers.
Dr. Jenelle Hodges, Director of Digital Learning, comments: “The big questions were: In between our forums and conferences, how do we continue educating? How do we reach the 80% of our membership who may not be able to attend our events in person? And how do we reach out to the next generation of people who will become members in the future?”
Rapid Response To A Healthcare Crisis
To turn its digital vision into reality, CHIME decided to implement a learning management system (LMS).
“We needed more than just a basic system—we needed a platform that could handle the big dreams and the big visions that our board, our education team, and our members were looking for,” says Jenelle Hodges. “We wanted something flexible enough to let people study on their own time, as well as provide more structured courses with live sessions and a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning.”
CHIME drew up a detailed plan for a nine-month project to deliver this new platform in 2020—but that’s when COVID-19 hit.
“We had organized so many face-to-face programs, and people had already registered for them,” says Jenelle Hodges. “We realized we can’t just stop educating. Right now is when the healthcare sector needs us most. We had to come up with a solution fast.”
Pivoting Into Rapid Action
When the pandemic struck, CHIME had already found the right partner in D2L, the creator of the Brightspace learning management platform.
“We loved the tools that we found in Brightspace,” says Tim Stettheimer. “The flexibility of development for our instructional designers and the simplicity of the user experience convinced us that it was the right platform to help us deliver on our digital education strategy.”
Jenelle Hodges adds: “D2L was also the only LMS provider that talked to us about privacy and security laws—and that’s huge for a healthcare organization.”
CHIME consulted D2L about rethinking its nine-month implementation roadmap and designing a solution that could be delivered iteratively, aiming for an initial launch in just two weeks. The Learning & Creative Services team rose to the challenge and provided expert learning and creative services to augment CHIME’s in-house instructional design team.
“With our initial plan, I was hesitant to engage Learning & Creative Services, because we have great designers in our own team,” says Jenelle Hodges. “But the two-week runway changed my mind! Once we started working with the D2L designers, it was so seamless and so amazing. Together, we came up with a launch plan, working out what we needed to get off the ground and what we could roll out in later iterations.”
Tim Stettheimer explains: “Narrowing the scope was the key. In two weeks, we had to sprint to a place where we could make the platform available to members and subscribers. Rather than trying to populate every channel of education, we focused on getting it launched with useful content and building from there.”
The Learning & Creative Services team also played a vital role in delivering some of the more technically complex aspects for the platform, such as using the platform’s Intelligent Agents functionality to manage learners’ subscriptions and remind them automatically when they are due for renewal.
Tim Stettheimer reflects, “Launching the platform in two weeks was something that neither our members nor the leadership within CHIME thought was possible. And we couldn’t have done it without our team and D2L. It was an amazing effort, and one that succeeded far beyond what we expected.”
Delivering Innovative Learner Experiences
Today, CHIME’s digital learning platform is online and available at ignitedigital.org, enabling learners to purchase individual courses or annual subscriptions via integration between the Brightspace platform and Course Merchant. CHIME uses Intelligent Agents to request feedback from learners at multiple points during each course, and the results are extremely positive.
“Our learners really love the gamification we’ve introduced with Brightspace,” says Tim Stettheimer. “They’re not just reading content—they get to interact with it. And the system is so responsive to them that it’s an instant feedback loop.”
Jenelle Hodges adds: “Our courses cover serious subjects such as data privacy and information security, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be engaging and fun. Reading and repeating is only one way of learning— when you add interactive activities, it suddenly shows the material in a whole new light.”
Being There When It Matters
The Brightspace platform gives CHIME new pathways to reach its members and beyond—especially those who might not be able to travel to face-to-face events. Moreover, instead of participating in professional development events only a few times each year, learners can log in whenever they like, integrate learning into their everyday activities, and apply new skills directly in the workplace. That’s been especially critical during a period when digital healthcare leaders have been assisting those on the front lines in responding to the COVID-19 crisis.
“The fact that we can play even a small role in helping healthcare workers—just being able to be there and support the people who are supporting all of us—I think was a special benefit,” says Jenelle Hodges.
Scaling For Future Growth
While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the hand of most membership organizations and professional development providers in moving their courses and conferences online, Tim Stettheimer sees digital learning as more than just a temporary band-aid before the world returns to the traditional face-to-face training model.
“I’d draw a parallel with electronic healthcare records,” he says. “EHRs were on the horizon for years, but it was only when the U.S. government provided a stimulus package that they suddenly reached critical mass, and everyone started seeing the benefits.
“In the same way, COVID is going to be the tipping point for digital events and education; once people see the benefits of the flipped classroom model, they’ll want to keep it flipped. At CHIME, the scope and scale of what we will do online will far eclipse what we can do face-to-face in terms of both audience reach and the depth of content that we can make available.”