While hospitals and birthing facilities continue to deal with the fallout from the pandemic, many expecting parents are turning to the internet for information about how to prepare for labor and birth. And although effective patient education remains vital for pregnant people, it is unclear when or if in-person childbirth classes will resume to pre-pandemic capacity.
In this environment, great childbirth educators are more valuable than ever. For patients, having access to high-quality childbirth education from the comfort and safety of home is critical. For educators, this moment presents an opportunity to flex your teaching muscles and reach your patients where they are. A hybrid teaching model provides one of the best strategies for you to bridge that gap between online and on-site learning.
And we have just the solution to help you launch your own hybrid labor and birth course: our newly launched CCI Childbirth Academy™. But we’ll get to that.
What is hybrid learning when it comes to labor and birth education?
We envision hybrid patient education courses as a combination of live instructor-led classes and self-paced online learning. So what does that look like in real life? Imagine live sessions with a childbirth educator or other maternity professional in conjunction with online learning that your patients can access at their convenience wherever they are.
One of the reasons we created our Childbirth Academy was to provide a solution for childbirth educators when life went virtual in 2020. Because it looks like online childbirth education, in some form, is here to stay, we wanted you to have all the necessary tools to deliver seamless remote teaching to your patients. So whether you’re making the pivot to a hybrid learning model or setting up your first online class, our Childbirth Academy is designed to help you provide evidence-based education you can trust directly to your patients. Over time, your hybrid-style classes could easily be modified for a return to on-site sessions augmented by online learning.
We know educators are looking forward to having that rewarding face-to-face teaching experience with patients again just as soon as it’s safe. Now when that day comes, you’ll be ready.
How do I start hosting a hybrid class for childbirth?
There’s no one way to host a hybrid class. But here are some basics. First, you’ll want to choose a self-paced online childbirth course, such as the CCI Childbirth Academy. Next, to complete the hybrid learning experience, you’ll need to incorporate that online course with the live childbirth classes you’re likely already teaching using a video conferencing platform, such as Zoom. Then, keep doing what you’re great at: educating patients.
Once your course is up and running, encourage your patients to really dive into the online content and regularly review assigned course materials on their own time and at their own pace. That way, patients are prepared for each class. And you can devote your live sessions to refreshing their knowledge of what they learned in the days leading up to class. So rather than using valuable class time simply restating information, you can spend it assessing patient understanding with the help of games and quizzes.
To make hosting your hybrid course as easy as possible, we’ve created a sample labor and birth course schedule for you to download. In it, you’ll also find suggestions for in-class activities and homework assignments.
What are the benefits of a hybrid class?
In the best of times, we see many benefits of hybrid-style childbirth classes. And during the time of COVID, the advantages of hybrid learning are multifold. Further, because pregnant people are shown to be a potentially vulnerable group to COVID, they may be more reluctant to attend in-person classes even after the constraints of the pandemic are lifted.
For patients and educators alike, a hybrid learning model helps remedy the challenges of childbirth education while maintaining social distancing. Now, to the benefits of a hybrid-style childbirth course:
Hybrid learning is efficient for a group yet can be personalized for the individual.
- Patients can use the online component to learn and review content at their own pace. Educators can personalize live sessions to the group, to the individual, or to the facility and let their own teaching style shine.
- Patients can ask questions during live sessions and educators can address them in real time. Educators can lead class discussions and make sure their patients understand the course materials and concepts. And patients can practice, say labor positions, with the supervision and direction of a childbirth educator.
- Educators get a platform where they can relay facility-specific details: check-in or discharge processes, facility tours, parking information, as well as common interventions and guidance for patients about, for instance, when they should make their way to the hospital.
Hybrid courses provide safe and convenient remote learning, while keeping patients connected.
- Pregnant people, many of whom we know have concerns about COVID, can receive instructor-led education at home where they feel safe and comfortable.
- Babies continue to arrive whether childbirth classes are being held or not. So access to high-quality, evidence-based education is critical. For pregnant people, having access to and building a relationship with childbirth educators, like you, is more important than ever.
- Partners can get involved in the labor and birth education experience by practicing positions and comfort measures in their own home — before they get to the hospital.
- No travel is required. Patients get the convenience of learning at home coupled with the social benefits of group sessions with other expecting parents.
- Patients receive direct support and supervision from a childbirth educator who stays with them every step of the way along their pregnancy journey.
Hybrid learning improves patient understanding and ensures they get practice.
- Patients who participate in live sessions are far more likely to physically participate and complete assigned exercises. By practicing activities during an instructor-led class, patients undoubtedly gain better understanding.
Your solution to hybrid learning? Welcome to CCI Childbirth Academy!
Look, we’ve always known that great childbirth educators do awesome work. And we wanted to help you continue to do your important work and to do it as efficiently and effectively as possible. So we designed the CCI Childbirth Academy — an online self-paced labor and birth course — with you in mind.
For patients, The Academy will help them to better understand the process of labor and birth and answer any questions they might have. For educators like you, The Academy can comprise the online learning component of your hybrid class. But don’t just take our word for it. We know you’re going to love it, so we’d love for you to try The Academy for 7 days for free!
Where do we go from here? You tell us!
We'd love to hear from those of you who are already hosting a hybrid course. How’s it going? What successes and failure have you had so far? Have you come up with other novel ways to give your patients the education they need? We invite you to join us on Facebook at CCI Hub to share your stories and to keep this conversation going.