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Don’t you just love all those buzz words? But it is true, I did design an EMT class that not only used many of the current educational strategies—and we did it with only 60 hours of in-class time. The remainder of the work was done online.

Can this work? The answer is yes. It did. Read on, I’ll tell you how.

I have long been a believer in the power of distributive education. It can be called a lot of things (distance, online, etc.) and can be synchronous or asynchronous. I designed a class with an asynchronous didactic component using the MyBradyLab platform and (not surprisingly) my EMT textbook.  I also am a strong advocate for the flipped classroom concept. The classroom sessions had minimal in-seat lecture time, instead using integration- and application-based exercises. (We’ve shared a number of dynamic learning exercises, and you can access even more through a free instructor account at EMTReview.com.)

classroom-470680_640Setup for Asynchronous EMT Class

The class flowed like this: It met for 12 hours every three weeks. Over a 15-week timeframe the students were in class for 60 hours. Note how the same time frame could have been used with a four-hour class every week for a semester. This timing must be carefully planned because there is a lot of off-line work that must be completed between sessions.

While in class, students used active learning techniques (group discussions, scenarios, problem-solving) and did skills practice.

There were a total of 20 people who ended up eligible to take the NREMT. 19 of those students passed the NREMT exam on the first attempt for a 95% pass rate!

What makes this even sweeter is that these classes were taught on islands off the coast of Maine to a population that traditionally had trouble getting enough people for EMT classes. The course produced vital local EMTs for a community-based EMS system.

I don’t think every class will rock like this one with such a great pass rate and I can’t claim this cohort proves it will work in all settings. I do believe there were some things that clearly led to the success. They include:

  • Great educators. Kerry Pomelow and Tessa Hastings taught the classes. They needed to really gauge the student’s needs and do more on their feet thinking than an instructor teaching a 160-hour traditional slide-based lecture course. They also had a solid grasp of EMT knowledge and could facilitate to make group exercise and discussions true learning experiences.
  • Good course materials. I can take some credit for this since I developed all of the in-class activities. This is my passion. I am increasingly against traditional PowerPoint-based lecture and believe in the flipped model. You must maximize your in-class time for the important stuff. The MyBradyLab provided a structured didactic foundation to use outside of class.
  • Motivated students are also important. This applies in any distance or asynchronous class. Not every student is cut out for this class.

What do you think? Do you believe this type of EMT class would work in your system? Would you want to teach it?

Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Michael Hunter says:

    This a great concept. Did you have any regulatory hurdles in Maine? A webinar about this would be great. I’m very interested in your classroom activities. Any chance of seeing some of your activities?

  • Very nice article, just what I was loooing for.

  • Jennifer Brigson says:

    You mentioned that you use a “asynchronous didactic component using the MyBradyLab platform”. I’m trying to maximize our MyBrady use for a blended (goal is as flipped as it can be) classroom. We will have more regular class meetings (only 36/180 hours are online) so I’m wondering if sandwiching the in person class with the pretest/homework beforehand and the post test afterwords. Can you speak to how you utilized MyBradyLab?

    • Dan Limmer says:

      Hi Jennifer–My class had 60 hours in class. A bit more than you (I believe you said 38 hours in class). There were a couple of things that I consider reasons for my success and that I would recommend to you. The first is to plan enough time between in person sessions so that the students will have time to to the MyBradyLab (MBL). Not so long they will stray and forget though.

      Don’t lecture the same stuff they learned in the MBL. This is a trap and a time suck. We used application exercises (linked above) and skills with only brief reviews of core material to make sure students knew what was important and had a classroom anchor. I haven’t personally done it but you might be able to use some of the dynamic exercises as discussion board questions. There were also optional weekly call-in sessions which helped. I think the MBL provides content, structure and even remediation but you’ll need to use your classroom hours wisely to provide skills, application and insight.

      If you want to extend the classroom reach we do offer an audio series (available through Pearson and can be bundled with the book) which provides extra insightful “lecture” to students. Here are some samples: http://limmercreative.com/sample-audio/

      Let me know what you think.

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