Checklist: Does Your Team Need Cultural Competency Training?

Every healthcare and wellness organization needs cultural competence training, no matter what. Being able to view clients and patients with an awareness of their cultural background has a huge impact on your agency and also each person’s health.

Cultural competency allows your team to bridge a gap between the people in your community and the healthcare system.

Health Disparities in Populations

This gap in care is down to bias blind spots—sometimes intentional and sometimes implicit or unconscious bias—that leaves out wide swaths of the population.

Too many people have vastly different healthcare experiences because of their race/ethnicity, income, geographic location, sexual preference, or other characteristics. These differences often lead to health disparities in populations.

More African Americans and Latinos, compared to whites, have at least one of seven chronic conditions:

  1. asthma
  2. cancer
  3. heart disease
  4. diabetes
  5. high blood pressure
  6. obesity
  7. anxiety/ depression

Some of this is because they don’t get treated quickly or at all, compared to white populations.

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Assessing Cultural Competence in Healthcare

Closing the gap in cross-cultural situation means that every single patient or client gets the care they need. Skipping cultural competency training is a sure way for those patients to fall into the gap.

Properly training healthcare and wellness employees will have a better self-awareness of their own biases and the ways that their clients receive inconsistent care base don their cultural beliefs and behaviors.

Knowing that you need cultural competence training at your work is step one. Assessing in what areas individuals might need extra training is step two.

Below is a checklist you can use as a basic starting point to see what are the general goals of a competency training program and where you might need help. Here is a list of many more assessments specific for different languages and working situations for a deeper dive.

Print out or save copies of this checklist and give it to your team members. Let them know that it’s not a quiz, it’s just a tool for assessing. They don’t need to add their name or even show it to you if they don’t want to. It’s just a way to rate a person’s level of cultural competency. Start now by taking it yourself.

Cultural Competency Self-Assessment

scoring
Scoring

Look at the number of checks in the “strongly agree” and “agree” columns. These reflect a higher level of competency. Think about signing up for training to improve those areas where there are checks in “neither agree nor disagree,” “disagree” and “strongly disagree.”

Ongoing Training

Cultural competency training isn’t a one-and-done event. Learning is a process with plenty of on-the-job practice that should extend throughout a person’s employment. Make sure you’re following the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care (PDF) and put together an ongoing training plan to keep improving.

Your community’s health will improve.

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The 10 Training Metrics That Help with Grant Reports

If you need to provide reports as a condition of a grant reward, online learning management systems (LMSs) provide a giant benefit.

They provide metrics, gathered automatically, all the time.

If you have received a grant award, you are probably required to submit various reports so the funder can monitor your progress and performance. If that grant is for some type of capacity-building or training, you have a handy data source that makes your job easier.

Agencies that leverage insights on how program participants behave and perform can spend less time hunting and more time focused on their main goals.

The trick is to be systematic about it and know how to interpret the types of data that your learning system provides. Make sure that monitoring progress and behavior is part of your performance and progress reports.

This article walks through 10 reports that are essential for your requirements and also for knowing how well your online training program is going on a day-to-day basis.

10 Top LMS Reports

  1. Enrollment rates
  2. Logged in vs. completions
  3. Last login
  4. Learner progress
  5. Learner participation and engagement
  6. Total time spent in lessons
  7. Online assessments
  8. Knowledge-gain
  9. Certificates Earned
  10. Satisfaction

Enrollment rates

enrollment rates

Your program may be tightly controlled, and you know exactly who is participating and when. Open-enrollment programs allow for less control, so a report that shows how many people enrolled will help you understand interest. 

In the above example, you can see at a glance the vast difference between enrollment from month to month. May had very few compared to October.

That may be expected to you, for example if you do did a big promotional push in October. But if you didn’t, this report can help you look elsewhere for external influences that are affecting your registration.

Logged in vs. completions

logged vs completions

It’s easy to focus on the successful completions in a course (see below section on certificates). If you compare that information to the number of logins, you’ll find some interesting trends. 

If the numbers are even—good job! You’ve got great engagement from the beginning to end. If not, you can start to see deeper.

In this example above of the diversity training course, seven times the number of people logged in vs. completed. This tells you that many people started the course but dropped out before finishing. It’s a good idea to measure this so you can identify any barriers to completion. Sometimes this is poor alignment with participants (i.e., the wrong people are signing up for the course).

Last login

last login

Looking at the last login date on a course will help you zero in on people who have disappeared. This is crucial for follow-up. A good practice is to check this at least once per week for ongoing courses.

Learner progress

learner progress

Checking learner progress will reveal how far along completion they are. You can see which modules they’ve completed and if they’re moving at a rate you’re expecting. Looking at student specific usage lets you monitor each person’s performance so you can step in if you see anything unusual. This sort of report, when compared against others, can help you identify high performers vs. low performers.

Learner participation and engagement

daily traffic

Checking daily statistics to see who’s logged into the course can be helpful to show the busiest and slowest days. The above chart shows that in September, traffic spiked. It also reveals that Mondays, Fridays and Sundays are some of the highest trafficked. When those bars are low and are consistently dropping off, you might need to do some outreach.

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Total time spent in lessons

total time spent in lessons

Participants in your course need to be spending enough time in the lessons to benefit. If you look at the total time they’ve spent in lessons, you can get a great overview. The example above shows how long people are spending in each page and how many times each page has been accessed. The result is that you can assess how invested they are in the online course or if interest is lagging.

Online assessments

online assessments

Online assessments are one of the best gauges of how much progress your participants are making and how well they’re performing. It’s best if you can issue a pre-course assessment and a post-course assessment so you can see the each person’s improvement (see Knowledge-gain below).

Assessments individually or collectively can also tell you if the information you’re delivering is being received the way you want it to.

Knowledge-gain

Some of the best indicators for knowledge gain are pre-course assessments, post-course assessments and self-assessments, which should all align with the learning objectives you developed in advance. Ask participants the same questions before the training as after, and you’ll be able to see an increase or plateau of knowledge. If increase isn’t significant enough, it’s time to change something.

Knowledge-gain is an improvement percentage that is the ratio of positive change. How to Calculate Improvement Percentage from Sciencing has a helpful how-to.

Certificates earned

Certificates are a powerful motivator for many employees, and they’re required for many healthcare training courses. Checking your LMS reports for how many certificates were earned—and by whom—can help you make sure you’re reaching your objectives.

Satisfaction

satisfaction

With the work it takes to implement a training program, it can be difficult to find time and resources to evaluate the effectiveness of it. By ignoring how well (or poorly) your training program is engaging participants and making a difference in their work, you could be wasting time and money.

A learner satisfaction survey, even a simple one, can help you gather data on how much your participants value the training. Higher satisfaction equals higher engagement and success overall.

Some basic satisfaction questions you can add into your evaluations are:

  • The facilitator answered all my questions.
  • How would you rate your experience in this course?
  • Which parts of the training are most useful in your job?

Make sure these LMS reports are included in your regular monitoring, bonus if you can schedule them to be delivered the week before you’re due to submit your grant report. Even if you don’t have a grant reporting requirement, still fold in these best practices so you know how your training is performing and make timely adjustments as needed.

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18 Ways To Motivate Distance Learners in Professional Development

Your agency has probably restructured at least some of its professional development training as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. You may have shifted to online learning or at least holding some trainings via remote platforms like Zoom.

It’s handy to have a distance learning safety net so you can keep passing information on to your staff. But just because the technology is there doesn’t mean your team’s motivation is too. Times are tough, they might not be engaged in the same way as usual.

Even in normal times, it’s tough to keep learners motivated in an elearning course. For starters, visual cues are hard to read from a distance, so instructors have trouble responding on an individual basis. Many self-guided courses are lackluster and not tied to learning goals, so they can be hard for participants to follow.

How to motivate learners

The secret to motivating learners is to hit them from all directions, and make sure every step is designed to promote enthusiasm in what they’re learning.

In general terms, this means ensuring your staff knows why they’re taking a training and that the value is clear. It also means giving them educational materials that are designed for adult learners. Grown-ups need to juggle competing demands, preferred learning styles, and their own familiarity with the delivery method.

Following is a list of ways you can create an environment that encourages learning and help staff feel inspired to build their own skills.

1. Make sure training is relevant for their job.

Participation will drop like a stone if a course doesn’t make sense to the people taking it. Unfortunately, many courses are too general or not addressed to the right group. Learning new skills can keep employees engaged and dedicated to their jobs. It helps if you can merge training with staff learning goals.

2. Get buy-in from supervisors.

Participants’ supervisors need to be included from the beginning. A supervisor can make sure employees participate and also help answer any questions that arise in the course. Consider enlisting superiors as coaches for the best results.

3. Build anticipation for the course.

Treat your training launch with some showmanship. Deliver some teasers ahead of schedule that let participants know something exciting is coming up.

4. Promise a reward.

Some training needs to be done, no matter what, such as HIPAA or privacy rights. But you can tie a reward to successful completion in other modules. This might be a certificate of completion, some paid time off, new equipment for use on the job, additional training opportunities, or end-of-course lunches.

5. Allow time in their schedule for learning.

Allow an afternoon or a certain number of hours to complete training. This helps if they have a busy schedule that competes with their attention.

6. Set benchmarks.

If your course is skills-based, first take measurements of where staff skills are. Tell your employees why their skills are being measured. Then upon completion, measure progress against your benchmark. One idea is to assess ability with one task during performance appraisals. Employees will also equate the course with an overall job requirement.

7. Share learning objectives.

Frame the training by sharing what the course will be about and give staff a target. If they know what they should be learning ahead of time, that helps them know what they should focus on.

8. Ask learners to set their own goals.

Similar to the above tip, you can encourage learners to state what they want to get out of the course. Thinking about how the material fits in with their life can help make it more relevant.

9. Call and/or email all participants at the start of class. 

Tell your staff from the beginning that you hope to connect with them as an individual and are invested in their success in the course.

COVID-19 & Women's Health: What You Need To Know

10. Cultivate a warm classroom where you, as the facilitator, are present and reachable. 

Provide your phone number and/or a frequently checked email account that your participants can rely on reaching you in a timely manner. Many people are unsure of online learning and nervous about taking courses. This strategy helps overcome their fears and boosts their contribution.

11. Nominate a champion.

Encourage community participation by asking participants to elect an “Inspirational Class Captain” to post motivational quotes in each module. The blog tool or the discussion Forum is a good place for this contribution.

12. Ask early and often what participants think.

A survey at the end of the course is good. Asking them throughout the course how the material relates to their work is even better. Learners will often forget details by the end of a course. Check in with polls that ask how relevant they think information is or how long it took them to complete a module. Also create a forum designed for general thoughts, and ask your instructor to get in the habit of asking for feedback.

13. Talk to participants.

Offer Skype, Zoom, or chat sessions to participants on a weekly basis. Offering these as set office hours is a great way to motivate participants to ask questions they need immediate answers to and to engage with you when they otherwise might not have.

14. Be careful with feedback.

Provide consistent, positive feedback and frame all negative feedback with a positive tone.

15. Offer “extra credit” activities/games each week if possible. 

Even if participants aren’t participating in the course for grades, very short quizzes can be pitched as games that add a layer of fun to the module and help to motivate the participants to continue on.

16. Include partners.

Create peer groups or peer partnerships to encourage collaboration and class participation. This could be community partners or interagency partners. You can use the Groups tool to create private collaboration space.

17. Follow up often.

Identify low participating participants and respond more to their posts to show that you’re tuned into them. Call and/or email participants who are not participating in class to show that you’re concerned about their presence in the classroom and offer support to help them succeed. 

18. Give help.

Technology scares some people. Be prepared to make it easy to succeed in an online course. Read some more tips about making your course accessible for people who have visual or physical limitations. Set up a demonstration before the course begins. Appoint coaches in the workplace who can offer assistance. Give a computer-literacy assessment before the course begins so you have a better idea of who will need additional help.

Originally published July 3, 2014, updated February 12, 2021.

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10 Tips for Making Your Online Training, Meetings, and Programs Successful

An online format for connecting with your staff is now the new norm. Agencies have spent the past year adapting traditional professional development and in-person meetings to online training and meetings when plans can still be uncertain.

[Read more: How to Create an Annual Training Plan for Your Program]

True, face-to-face trainings can make it feel easier to communicate and read the reactions of others in the room. But by following some best practices, you can keep your team connected and up-to-date on their education while avoiding disruptions and increasing engagement.

Remote training and meeting sessions aren’t identical to in-person education and events, but the good news is that distance learning systems and educational technology (EdTech) platforms are better than ever before. Here are some ways to make online meetings, workshops, and programs effective and productive. So, lower your anxiety levels and read on for 10 tips that will help you get more value out of your virtual training.

10 Tips for Making Your Online Training, Meetings, and Programs Successful

  1. Choose the Right Tool for the Training
  2. Optimize the Content
  3. Make a Plan
  4. Consider Time Zones and Schedules
  5. Send a Welcome Message
  6. Navigate Spam Filters
  7. Practice, Practice, Practice
  8. Keep Participants Engaged
  9. Provide Contact with Mentors or Coaches
  10. Follow up

1. Choose the Right Tool for the Session

The most important decision when you move training online is what tool you’ll use to offer it. Different situations and materials call for different solutions (you can learn more about what elearning platform works best for your needs with a training needs assessment).

If you’re doing a one-off training that takes no more than 1.5 hours, a webinar is a good choice, and you can use a tool like GoToMeeting, Join.me, Uber Conference, or Zoom. Learn more about a few popular video conferencing services.

If you need to repeat the training, need to offer certificates, or need more in-depth training, then self-guided online education is the solution you need. The fastest and easiest way to train your staff without being in the same room is through a learning and training subscription. Learning subscriptions are helpful so you’re not reinventing the wheel every time you train every worker.

A learning subscription lets you begin training within a few days. It’s a digital learning solution that provides 24/7 access to a complete catalog of interactive training courses and videos for anyone on your team who needs to build skills or meet training requirements. Learning subscriptions are helpful for existing and new hires because they make it easy to stay current as health recommendations are constantly changed and revised.

2. Optimize the Content

When the world started meeting and learning online, organizations had to find a way to present that information immediately. This meant that much of that information was poorly suited for online delivery. When you know what kind of platform you have, examine your content and make sure it fits the delivery platform.

3. Make a Plan

Unless you’re a pro at holding online trainings and meetings, having a careful plan is the key to a smooth event. A project plan helps you assign tasks, collaborate with others, increase engagement, and remove stress for everyone. Even if you’re the only one holding your online event, you should plot out the sequence of events and when they should happen.

At a minimum, include these main categories in an elearning project plan, including task, milestone, and person responsible. Here are some example categories for an online training event:

  • Registration
  • Text or content writing
  • Graphic design
  • Platform set up
  • Rehearsal
  • Follow-up

4. Consider Time Zones and Schedules

Nearly everyone has mixed up meeting times with someone in a different time zone. Consider where your online learners are in the US when you set your event, and think about when people are free.

You might even survey your participants to find out when it’s most convenient for them to meet. There are a lot of good scheduling tools out there, but Doodle is a good one that’s easy to use:

virtual training

5. Send a Welcome Message

Welcome messages help you set expectations and highlight anything important when people are most attentive. If you’re hosting a meeting, then send a reminder and an agenda instead. This can help participants feel more comfortable with the online training or meeting format.

Use your welcome message to give participants a quick preview of the virtual event, give them contact information, prerequisites, and give them major deadlines they can copy into their calendars.

6. Navigate Spam Filters

Spam filters are notorious for blocking messages from anyone, especially if your team works at a healthcare facility, which seem to have even more strict blocking measures. Double-down on your notifications and messaging by sending in multiple formats: email, automatic notification, Slack, text.

You might even reach out to your participants via their personal email addresses if possible, since so many people are home and might not have access to their work email accounts.

COVID-19 & Women's Health: What You Need To Know

7. Practice, Practice, Practice

Before you step into that virtual meeting space, know what you’re doing by practicing, multiple times if needed. This will give you a chance to try out new technology tools, new material, and be ready for unplanned events.

“Find a group of people who will support your learning curve and practice with the technology. Ideally you gather a group large enough to practice different features of the platform you’ve selected, such as organizing breakout rooms” advises Laura Wells, a trainer who regularly delivers leadership training around San Francisco in person.

She has started delivering distance training sessions for clients, and is currently planning to deliver an exceptional virtual format of the Search Inside Yourself program (details at info@awakeinbusiness.com) for which she is a certified teacher. She needed to quickly get up-to-speed in April when one training was rapidly converted to an online format.

“Practicing saved the day,” she says.

“It’s tricky to switch smoothly between screen sharing of content to organizing breakout rooms without losing focus (yours and the participants). Going through that a few times in practice made it much less awkward during the live training,” Wells says. “I was so happy to get through the awkwardness with friends first! And that first April session received excellent evaluation marks from the participants.”

Some tools, such as GoToWebinar, let you start events in practice mode without leading a live session. Even if you fake your own practice mode, run through the event with other presenters, moderators, hosts, and organizers to perfect it before your participants show up.

“I also think a benefit of the practice session with friends is stress management. You don’t feel so alone in it. Sitting in your living room facilitating a training can feel a bit surreal,” Wells says. “It’s great to have the practice people already there in the room with you.”

8. Keep Participants Engaged

For some people, the idea of not being able to sit in the same room with an presenter is a big turn-off. “Remote” learning doesn’t have to feel far away if you focus on building community with your online group.

Encourage the presenter to introduce themselves to your staff and ask them to share information with one another. This will help build a personal rapport. It can also be helpful to build periodic conference calls into a course, or create virtual office hours, so participants can interact with the presenter. A mentoring structure can help too, if you can pair participants with experienced workers.

Some other best practices for increasing engagement:

  • Ask early and often what participants think.
  • Offer rewards, such as certificates or CEUs.
  • Ask everyone to turn on their video cameras to help everyone connect with each other.
  • Remind participants to be in a quiet place, mute themselves when not speaking, and use a headset.

9. Provide Contact with Mentors or Coaches

If an employee works in an office or clinic, they have regular contact with managers or coaches and can use new skills with their supervisors right away. Some remote workers don’t have regular access to supervisors or mentors, so what they pick up in class could sit stagnant. This is one of several hidden challenges of training remote learners.

If mentors aren’t in the participants’ communities, put them there, at least virtually. This could mean setting up phone calls with a coach to discussion implementation of the skills or requiring regular online check-ins through the forums or email. A little extra attention, and accountability, can make a big difference in a team member implementing what they learned faster and better.

10. Follow Up

When you’re finished, follow up with participants right away. Ask them for feedback so you can improve your next session. If you’ve taught them new skills, find out how and where they’re applying them and what they might still need to know.

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How to Create an Annual Training Plan for Your Program

Every year brings a new cycle of best practices, guidelines, mandatory education, and professional learning goals. It’s easy to get lost in the maze of requirements and aspirations and either over-train your staff for tasks they’ll never do, or skip over essential skills that would help them do their job better.

The answer is to create an annual training plan. This should be a document will be your navigation system for organizing, delivering, and repeating employee instruction whenever you need it.

If you create an annual training plan, then you can include requirements that come up year after year (e.g., HIPAA compliance) and also have a pathway for introducing new topics to keep building the skills of your team.

Follow these five steps, and you’ll be on your way to an effective learning program that becomes easier to achieve with each passing year.

COVID-19 & Women's Health: What You Need To Know

1. Consult Your Training Needs Assessment

The first step in starting an annual training plan for your program is to look at the training needs assessment to see what your team needs to know.

Finding out what your stakeholders need from a program and what your employees need to learn will make sure that everything fits together and supports your ultimate goals.

For example, imagine you run an HIV/AIDS program and the main goal of your program is to reduce the number of new HIV infections annually. Work backwards from there to come up with skills your team needs to know so you can deliver that to your trainees. This kind of team probably need to know the basics of what HIV/AIDS is, how it affects your community, prevention and treatment, and outreach and communication skills.

You might also want to include additional factors such as:

  • Overall agency goals or vision statement
  • The skills included in job descriptions
  • Compliance requirements, such as those for sexual harassment, HIPAA or patient rights

2. Decide Who Needs Training

Assume you’ve identified what your audience needs to learn. Next, figure out who needs to learn these skills.

Some people will be obvious, such as the people directly working on your program. And others are less obvious, such as other support staff or community partners.

Think about the HIV program example above. If you ran this program, you might need to include in your plan:

  • Yourself, as well as other managers and coordinators from partner programs
  • Case managers
  • Patient navigators
  • Outreach workers
  • Nurses
  • Nonprofit community partners
  • Members of a multidisciplinary team

You can group stakeholders with your infrastructure, because they will also have requirements you’ll need to address, such as the ability to become self-supporting with your new courses.

3. Optimize for Training Your Adult Learners

Keep adult learners engaged and help them retain what they learn by exposing them to the right kind of training materials. Some people define the word “training” very broadly, from a semester of college classes to a single PDF.

Keep adult learning principles in mind, and your staff will perform much better. Adult learning is relevant to the job, career and personal goals, task-oriented, interactive and usually self-directed.

Look at your training plan as a way to capture what works and repeat it in future offerings. It’s a great idea store the training materials in various formats to appeal to people who learn best in different ways. Some examples:

  • Written process documents especially used exactly when needed. An example would be a protocol for intakes on the phone, which is kept by the phone.
  • Screen shorts of video captures of process, live presentations, or demonstrations by in-house or outsourced experts.
  • Hosted elearning that’s available on demand. A learning management system (LMS) makes it easy to standardize training for everyone and is at hand whenever new hires need it or when veterans need an update. An LMS is a platform that you can use to deliver, track, and report on your training efforts.
  • Hands-on experience to bring the theory of training into practice. Give your staff the opportunity and chance to work on their new skills, and assign mentors and coaches to answer questions and provide guidance.

4. Connect All Parts of the Process

The point of creating an annual training plan is to work it into a repeatable cycle that supports overall goals. Here’s a structure that fits many agencies:

connect all parts of the process

Start with the needs assessment or competency assessment to identify gaps to be filled with training.

Then find the areas for improvement and build those onto the employee’s individual training plan for their job.

That will go into an employee’s overall professional development plan, which is a chart for that person’s career at your agency.

Every year, check progress against these plans in an annual performance review, identifying areas to focus on for the coming year.

By building structure into your training plan for the year, you’ll get results and be ready for many years to come.

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