Why You’re Failing to Engage Learners in Your Scientific Content
3 Strategies to Help Users Learn Faster and Better
The way we communicate complex science and medicine hasn’t changed in centuries.
The substance of the content may be cutting edge, but the way it’s communicated? 2D images, static visuals – not much has evolved in how students learn about the human body, medicine, and science.
While some content creators try to incorporate the digital medium into their learning experiences, even digital learning is still mostly static images grabbed from Google images or an atlas. These content creators struggle to take advantage of the full potential of digital, leaving their e-learning experiences underwhelming.
Here’s the biggest problem – the way we currently communicate medical and scientific information is passive. Medicine and healthcare is an industry where lives are at stake and yet the way we teach future doctors, nurses, and even medical sales reps who help surgeons learn how to use medical and surgical devices hasn’t changed much in decades.
The status quo results in low knowledge retention rates, lack of learner engagement with the subject matter, and learning outcomes that should be better. When lives are literally in the hands of these learners shortly after they graduate, this needs to change.
Thanks to the power of the digital age, however, we have a chance to end the status quo. Medical and scientific information can be communicated in a way that’s interactive, engaging, and specific to an audience and learning objective.
Here’s the simple 3-step way to create an immersive experience that will help your learners discover and explore concepts on their own, increase their knowledge retention, speed up how fast they reach learning objectives, and improve their confidence in communicating about complex topics.
1. Create customizable content that’s specific for your target audience.
Talk to just about any medical or scientific content creator and they will tell you how hard it is to create customized content that’s specific for their target audience when they’re limited to 2D images.
These images can only go so far, and when learners actually interact with a human body, whether a cadaver or a patient, they aren’t seeing in 2D. To truly engage with the subject matter, they need content that’s relevant to their learning objective – something static, two-dimensional images can’t deliver.
Take the example of a content creator for a large EdTech company. She needs to create content for a very specific learning objective – something complex and difficult to explain in words or static images alone.
In the past, she would have created a physical textbook or an ebook to communicate this information.
Now, however, as visual immersion becomes how her learners engage with content – whether it’s entertainment, social connections, or for studying – she needs to develop a rich experience that’s specific to her target users.
Otherwise, her static experience won’t hold their attention spans for long, nor will it give them the depth of knowledge and hands-on learning they need to truly understand complex subjects.
To solve this problem, BioDigital’s team worked with her and her subject matter experts to understand the topic. From there, we partnered with her to author custom interactive 3D content that fit her scenario exactly.
It was exactly the custom content she needed, and it was also specific to the learning objective her users needed to achieve. It helps them reach their learning outcome faster, all while retaining more of what they learned.
2. Engage your audience with interactive, measurable content.
Another problem medical and scientific content creators face is keeping their audience engaged.
Shortened attention spans, immersive experiences in media and entertainment, and more information than ever competing for a learner’s attention means that if a learning experience doesn’t engage them, they will find it harder to stay focused until they’ve reached their objective.
While passive learning tends to have low knowledge retention rates, hands-on learning helps learners practice and embed the new information in their brain.
Students studying medicine and medical sales people learning complex medical information so they can communicate it to surgeons need both styles of learning – passive and active. However, especially in the field of medicine, allowing students to get practical experience raises a few issues.
The ethical concerns of letting students practice on patients, for one, and then there is the supply and demand as well as ethical issue of students practicing on cadavers.
What if learners could have the best of both worlds without any of the ethical or logistical issues? What if they could learn through an immersive experience with a body that simulates a living human – beating heart, pumping blood, functioning organs?
That was the question asked in a study published in Annals of Anatomy 2018 with first year medical students. Half of the students used a human cadaver and the other half used the BioDigital Human to see how the different methods affected their learning. At the end, they took a 100 question comprehensive exam to measure the knowledge they retained.
When the study was completed, students using the BioDigital Human performed on average 16% better than their counterparts on the exam.
An immersive experience delivers better results, and, during the process, instructors can measure a learner’s progress and see which parts of the content are the most or least engaged with to track how well the content is performing.
3. Deliver accessible experiences through embeddable, virtual content that’s available anytime anywhere.
In the past, interactive learning has been limited to a physical location. For instance, a student who wanted to learn about the cardiovascular system had to go to the lab and use a cadaver to get hands on experience.
The digital era means location is no longer a limitation. In almost every other industry, consumers engage with content when they want it, where they want it, and how they want it.
Learning about complex medicine and science should be no different.
In the medical device world, especially, sales representatives need to learn on-the-go and in the field. New information and new learning should not mean they have to go back to the classroom to sit through a lecture complete with powerpoint and bullet points.
Instead, a sales trainer can create embeddable, virtual content in their learning management systems to empower medical sales people to engage with content from their mobile devices.
This accessible experience not only means they can learn anytime, anywhere, but it also means they have the content available with them to help them communicate complex science clearly and confidently to clinicians.
No more status quo.
It’s time to give your learners rich visual experiences to help them learn faster, retain more, and communicate more confidently.
Book a demo with one of BioDigital’s strategists today.