Currently, there are more Millennials in the workforce than any other age group. By 2025, Millennials will represent 75% of the workforce. The average attention span for the Millennial generation is 90 seconds. On top of that, this generation loves video. YouTube has officially become the #2 search engine in the world following Google. It is safe to say, with a short attention span and a preferred methodology of video, traditional seminar/classroom learning has an uphill battle to stay relevant over time.
For some dental teams, online learning is a great alternative solution to get the education and training. Here’s why online learning can be a great fit for team dental education:
Benefit 1: Online education is web-based and can be viewed on any device
Online learning is accessible on any web-enabled device including desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. For taking notes, paper pads and pens have been replaced with smartphones and voice-to-text typing. If I go to a dental seminar and I get up to go to the restroom, I may have very well lost the biggest “a-ha” moment of that hour. Being able to engage with content online with the devices with which I’m already comfortable allows me to focus on the content, and rewind and review important pieces that I want to store in my long-term memory.
Benefit 2: It’s available 24/7/365, on-demand
Accessible anytime, anywhere, whether on a flight, in bed at night, or on your lunch hour, the content is always available. As a dental team, you can schedule team online-learning hours during your Monday lunch period in your waiting room, or you can have your hygiene clinical team do their learning over the weekend. Closing down your office, paying for your team’s travel expenses, and going somewhere remote is a model that cannot compete with the convenience of on-demand, online learning. An on-demand system works especially well with growing and expanding teams, and acts as a refresher for even the most seasoned team members.
Benefit 3: It’s often concise, engaging video-based courses
People want content that’s built to be short, visual, mobile-enabled, and collaborative. This style of learning, called micro learning, is centered around the idea of providing “knowledge nuggets” in ways that adhere to the trend of decreased attention span. When experienced on a 70” HDR 4K OLED monitor, the learning process can be more engaging than attending a live seminar. It’s akin to watching a football game in the bleachers versus in high-definition TV with zoomed in camera shots and instant replay capabilities.
Benefit 4: There’s the ability to have built-in accountability tools
When delivered on a learning management platform, users can monitor training progress with real-time reporting and notification features. With seminars, you can have a friend write down your CE credit code and cheat the system. Online learning on a learning management platform holds the learning process to an unprecedented level of accountability.
Jared Van Ittersum, D.D.S. has been practicing dentistry for 10 years while simultaneously developing and co-owning a multi-state private D.S.O. With a background in enterprise-level software development, in 2005 he led an IT team at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry to collaborate with Apple, Inc. to develop iTunes U©, an international digital education authority now utilized by millions of students worldwide.
Dr. Van Ittersum is also the co-founder of a new dental consulting solution sold exclusively through Henry Schein called Total Health Academy (THA). In partnership with Dr. Susan Maples, a pioneer within Henry Schein’s Total Health division, THA is the dental industry’s only comprehensive implementation program to transform a traditional dental office into a certified total health practice.
Finally, in order to provide additional options and flexibility for dental teams to get their education, Dr. Van Ittersum, his team, and Henry Schein co-developed and recently launched DDU™, a state-of-the-art, web-based, interactive virtual training platform that continues to be on the cutting edge of online training.