Learner Engagement: The Conception and Inception of ProDevo-Part 1

'Engage them and they will learn...'

I adapted this from a quote first stated by Benjamin Franklin where he said:

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn"

After realizing that I had a passion for Education, education technology integration and Learner Engagement, this quote has since resonated with me and it continues to do so daily...because its true! Engaged staff and/or students will definitely show better outcomes with their learning and development, as well as better compliance with patient care goals and outcomes, than those that are not engaged in the learning process-this is very well documented in and out of Nursing-centered literature...

So in my last blog post, I gave you information about my background and the impetus for my transition into Nurse Entrepreneurship, specifically within the Nurse Consulting space. After conducting numerous clinical staff orientations, and consulting with a number of Nurse Educators across the health system enterprise with my former employer, I quickly realized the gap. I quickly realized that learning was taking place, but at a bare minimum. Directors and Educators were noticing that their staff was not picking up on key concepts, needed regular review and updates on content that was taught in great detail, etc. When looking at how the education was being delivered, it became even more clear that a change needed to take place. We couldn't keep doing the same thing and expecting different learner outcomes. Educators were doing all this work but, often times due to time constraints, couldn't pinpoint what was lacking. My former colleague and I started conducting Learner Engagement classes and that's where it all came together...Educators, while they were creative in their own ways, were thirsty for new knowledge and new ways to deliver their content in an engaging, interactive way that would yield better outcomes, better content retention, better compliance with policies and procedures and better overall patient care. It then became my mission, to empower and provide Nursing Professional Development Practitioners/Specialists and Nursing faculty in academia, with the knowledge, mindset, confidence and tech tools to create memorable, meaningful content and education events.

Besides what I mentioned earlier, why does learner engagement really matter? What is Engagement? The definition of Engagement, from an education standpoint, has many facets. According to edglossary.org, student/learner engagement is the amount of curiosity, attention, interest and passion students show when they are learning, which extends to their level of motivation. It is predicted from this definition, that learning improves when the learner is asking questions and seems interested, and suffers when they appear bored, uninterested and essentially disengaged. Most Educators, whether it be in academia or professional development, have expressed that one of their main objectives is stronger student engagement. According to trend reports in corporate training, employees 25 and younger rate professional development as their #1 driver of engagement. Employees 35 and up also rate professional development as their driver of engagement.

Why does it matter? The current trend (which has actually been the trend for some time now in the age of mobile devices and mobile learning) is to move the focus away from instructor-centered approaches to more learner-centric methodologies. Trying to make it more of a learning experience where the learner is in the drivers seat and taking an active role in their education and development. Engagement also includes carrying out learning tasks and focusing on the outcomes of learning, as this directly influences learning results. Given that Nursing is an applied science, this is especially important that we move from strictly knowledge acquisition to actual clinical application.

I use this infographic often in my presentations and webcasts because even though this is data from 2014, it is still so very relevant today in 2019, if not more so. This is from Josh Bersin, a thought leader in HR, business leadership, corporate learning and development and HR technology. The areas that are of most importance in all of this, to me, is that fact that employlees can only dedicate 1% of their work week to focus on training and development, that most learners wont watch a video that is more than 4 minutes in length and that learning designers and educators have between 5-10 seconds to grab the attention of the online learner before they click away to look at something else. According to Harnett (2018) when he was referring to eLearning, he states “…engaging eLearning experiences creates a tipping point where the learning now transfers to on-the-job knowledge”. This is fascinating and sobering information because in all honesty, we know as Nurse Educators, much of our content whether it be Instructor-led or online is comprised of very lengthy slide decks with lots of very useful information, but alot of it! We will talk about the magic of Microlearning and how that can be used in Nursing Professional Development and Education in a future blog post.


When it comes to the integration of educational technology, according to an NLN and Wolters-Kluwer 4-part study and series (2017), 82.9% of nursing students state that the use of technology enhanced their learning. In some cases, Educators know that there are other more engaging modalities that exist for their curricula design for learning and development. There are many rationales noted in the literature as to why more engaging elements are not more regularly integrated. There is the apprehension to try new things and being ok with using what is already been in place...With regards to technology integration, 71% of technology non-adopters stated that technology is too impersonal and this is their top reason why they shy away from it. 48% have a fear of losing control of the learning process and in some extreme cases, as mentioned in the same Wolters-Kluwer, NLN study, even though Nurse Educators, specifically in academia, are aware of the benefits of creating a more learner centric environment, they fear student dissatisfaction with having to become more involved in their learning and that it will negatively impact their course evaluations, subsequent tenure and/or promotion. Now that is pretty deep!

So what do we do as Educators and Professional Development Practitioners to overcome this apprehension, this issue of doing things the same way because that's how it has always been done and its just easier?

  • We need to open our minds to try different things and possibly even adopt some non-traditional methods of instructional delivery.

  • We should seek out our own faculty development to learn new things and sharpen our saws as Educators...asking ourselves what are we doing to keep up-to-date, which we will talk about in a future blog post.

Its a complete mindset overhaul that does not take place overnight. It takes patience, time (which I know many in Nursing Education do not have) and motivation. Motivation to see a change in your learning outcomes...perhaps paying more attention to learning outcomes--are you currently measuring learning engagement as you are many other metrics? And if so, how? For now, just think on what you have read and ask yourself:

  • Are you doing as much as you can to engage your learner?

  • Are there other methods out there that you can try?

Your Nurse Learner as well as the patients being cared for by your Nurse Learner, will thank you for taking just a moment to think of those things and see how you can make a difference in their learning experience...

And to that end, this is how ProDevo Design and Consulting was born.

Stay Tuned for Part 2 on Learner Engagement. Let's connect and speak on how ProDevo can help you make the necessary changes to improve your nurse learner engagement. Contact me for a free phone consultation*

*Free consultations are limited to 30 minutes.



Great Schools Partnership (2016, February 18). Student Engagement. Retrieved from https://www.edglossary.org/student-engagement/

Holtschneider, M. (2017, February 20). Nursing Professional Development: Immune from the Modern Learner [Blog]. Retrieved from http://www.anpd.org/blog/nursing-professional-development-immune-from-the-modern-learner

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