"Many HR departments are simply handed a budget and told to stay between these guidelines. Now they are becoming more of a business partner with hospital operations," Drake says. "We are trying to facilitate their knowledge around what they should be communicating to their CEOs. Some HR professionals may not have a business background, but they need to speak appropriately at the board table, understand their audience, because many of them are asked to be more involved with the budget."
Drake says the eLearning Network, launched Feb. 14, had been under consideration for about five years as an alternative to more rigidly scheduled and expensive Webinars or conferences. "Since about 2008 when the economy took a nose dive we saw that many of our members still needed education and still needed an avenue to be on top of best practices," Drake says. "They had less time with a variety of communication vehicles. We decided to start eLearning purely because our members were looking for it. It allows them to learn at their own pace and their own time frame."
Depending on the class, eLearning costs ASHHRA members anywhere from nothing (for the course that examines the impact of healthcare reform) to $199 to complete one of the five competencies. Each of the seven to nine courses within a competency takes about 20 minutes to 40 minutes to complete. "If you took every lunch hour per day I would think you could easily get through it in a year," Drake says. "But we are always adding new courses. There might be something like managing disruptive behaviors because it's become an issue in your facility. It's up to the learner. It's truly what they look for and what they would want."
Drake says eLearning will always be a work in progress, adapting to whatever training members need. "It will change as our members' needs change. As health reform guides the way we do business. That will change," she says. "There will always be a class in there about on-boarding, for example, and we won't necessarily change the basics for on-boarding, but there may be some best practices that we want to add to the class. We will always need to update the classes."
ASHHRA is on to something here. In this era of tighter budgets, HR administrators still need professional development – perhaps even more so. This series of courses seems to be a practical and affordable way to address that need. If you've taken these courses, let me know what you think.