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Message from the President - December 2017 - Choose Your Own (Education) Adventure

Posted by Rita Brooks, MEP, RST, RPSGT, REEG/EPT on Dec 1, 2017 12:00:00 PM

Rita Brooks Image.jpgDo you remember the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ series of children's gamebooks? Popular in the 1980s and 1990s, these stories were written from a second-person point of view, with the reader asked to make choices that would ultimately determine the outcome of the story. In a way, you can consider these books a form of ‘immersive’ learning, where rather than being pulled along by the narrative, you are instead becoming an active storyteller.

So, what does this have to do with sleep technology, you may ask. Well, if you have checked out the revamped online learning system offered by AAST lately you will see that the tools and resources presented are built much in the same manner as a ‘choose your own adventure’ book. Whereas in the past our educational resources have been mostly static video and quiz formats that presented information at you, the new and improved educational center for AAST is built to be more interactive where participants are guiding the lesson based on certain preferences. The goal is to build our curriculum around a series of decision points that lead you in different directions—in other words, how you answer certain questions will lead you down different paths.

Not only that, but the new system is built for your on-the-go lifestyle, as it is more mobile responsive (allowing you to participate on your devices) with the ability to access pieces of a lesson (rather than the entire lesson) and even start a lesson, and come back later to pick up again at any point.

We heard from our members and have created a learning system that matches individual learner needs. In other words, not everyone learns in the same manner. And according to Dr. Richard Rosenberg, AAST’s Education Consultant, it is a format that will ultimately prove to be more clinically relevant to shaping the education of sleep professionals. He points to the standard pyramid of learning styles, which says that a lecture or passive form of learning (the top of the pyramid) isn’t as effective as an actual demonstration or the practice of doing (further down on the pyramid). While he admits that the ‘pyramid’ isn’t 100% accurate, he can attest to the fact that having a more immersive experience is ultimately better for the learner.

What makes me excited about this is the fact that it perfectly aligns with one of AAST’s strategic goals, which is: Recognize and define the various roles in a sleep program, the skills required and professional standards for each role within the context of the changing healthcare environment.

SmithBucklin, as our new association management company, is helping to fulfill this goal through a commitment to assist the AAST to define the skills, education, experience and credentials that each of the various stakeholders requires to succeed in their role in the sleep center. Together we are focused on developing the guidelines, best practices, protocols and standards, along with building a stacking credentials model to enhance the continuing education for all of the various AAST stakeholders.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. The learning systems that are in place are not yet being utilized to their fullest capacity. Currently what you see in place is our baseline functionality for a new learning experience, and AAST staff is working diligently behind the scenes gathering feedback from users about their experiences thus far. With that feedback they are putting plans in place to begin introducing even greater functionality to the learning system.

This is all a part of our philosophy to make ‘data-driven decisions’ for our members. And that is an adventure that all of us should ultimately choose.