Solution Description to Assist Grantseekers in
Developing Proposal Narratives
E-Learning for Public Health
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Solution Type: E-Learning
Grantseeker Type: Public Health Agency
E-learning solutions allow information to be packaged in a more accessible,
customized, learner-centric format. This can lead to reduced training costs, easier
access to educational materials, greater accountability, and increased opportunities for
collaboration. In addition, it can improve compliance with the continuing education
requirements that are incumbent on many public sector employees.
E-learning encompasses the creation, management and sharing of knowledge, and it
provides solutions for the delivery, assessment and administration of the entire
learning experience via the Internet, Extranets, and Intranets.
The outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) around the world
necessitated a rapid dissemination of information and procedures to enable public
health personnel to understand and manage the epidemiology, transmission, and
impact of the disease. With E-learning technologies, it is possible to produce
instructional and informational media like this easily and deliver it quickly to the
people who need it.
<<Description of the need/problem addressed by the solution>>
Tip: Describe the specific needs that indicate the installation of an E-learning system. There may
be costs you believe could be reduced or requirements that are onerous to the agency. Local and
regional continuing education strategies are also relevant here.
Significant new challenges and expectations face public health employees in the
current security climate. In preparing for, and dealing with, man-made and non-man-
made crises, the agency aims to build public health competency among lab
technicians, epidemiologists, and other practitioners dealing with potentially volatile
agents and epidemics. At the same time, the agency may be called on to present
important information to the public in a variety of media, drawn from a variety of
Training of health workers in the wake of an increased threat of terrorist attack or
other disaster has become a priority, to ensure that those who must manage crises that
arise have the tools and the knowledge to do their jobs effectively. Access to real-time
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information, updates, information sharing and collaboration is required in this new
environment that taxes public health and safety personnel.
Depending on the personnel involved, it is also a challenge for a single agency to
bring a large group of its constituents together at a single time and place, to
participate in a training or educational activity. Emergency medical personnel and
clinical practitioners all tend to have irregular schedules, complicating any attempt to
coordinate a live training.
Requirements for Continuing Education are also expanding across all areas of
specialization, necessitating a hard look at past practices of training and ways to
deploy new technologies to accommodate the internal and external training demands.
Meeting the state and federal mandates for continuing education typically requires a
minimum of 10-15 hours away from the workplace for each team member each year,
and the times when classes are offered can be inconvenient. EMT training
requirements, for example, commonly include 35 to 55 hours of additional
instruction beyond EMT-Basic coursework. Prerequisites for taking EMT
examinations typically include required classroom work, and a specified amount of
Overtime costs associated with training have become burdensome for cash-strapped
agencies. In some cases, busy emergency personnel are seeking to improve their
functional contribution to their teams by cross-training in other areas as well. E-
learning technologies have made it possible for public health personnel to more easily
and efficiently meet many of the continuing education requirements for certification
For acquiring new skill sets for certification and re-certification and for
communicating to whole industries of personnel on emerging threats and procedures,
the need for a rapidly deployable educational tool in the public sector has never been
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<<Independent justification for addressing the need/problem>>
Tip: Add information here from local, regional, and statewide training and continuing education
New developments in digital technologies, media-rich content, increased bandwidth,
improved delivery platforms, and emerging technology standards have yielded a
growing selection of quality E-learning services and have made it possible to
participate in almost any type of learning activity from a personal computer.
Moreover, sophisticated E-learning solutions promise to help staff members improve
their understanding of the material through instant performance feedback and re-
instruction on problem areas.
<<Other contextual drivers for implementing the solution>>
Tip: Add here anything that is happening around the region that supports your desire to install
an E-learning Solution at this time. Examples may include a county-wide training initiative,
availability of additional purchasing power by joining with surrounding towns to purchase the
Finally, capturing the knowledge of the most experienced members of the workforce
to orient and guide incoming employees is becoming more critical as the current
workforce ages. Without a means to secure it, experienced workers will take their
valuable, time-tested insights with them into retirement. According to Governing
Magazine, 42 percent of the 15.7 million people working for state and local
government in 1999 were between 45 and 64 years old. In other words, two-fifths of
state and local government employees will be eligible to retire in the next 15 years,
raising the specter of the most significant talent and brain drain ever experienced by
<<Less technical description of the solution>>
Tip: Add details here on the number of sites and types of training you intend to offer
immediately. Also include plans for future topics and certifications that are needed in the agency.
Any details you have at this point will help explain your specific plans for the funding.
E-learning refers to education that is enhanced by or delivered via the Internet. It
began in corporate training departments, schools, and universities as a supplement to
standard teaching methods. Today, it encompasses a rich set of solutions that can be
used throughout an organization to share information, experience, and ideas. E-
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learning content will be produced on site by the agency and purchased from vendors
on a one-time or ongoing basis.
Agency-wide, the organization will deploy Cisco E-Learning solutions to:
1. Broadcast live staff communications, training and development seminars;
2. Capture live broadcasts in “on-demand” formats to be heard or viewed, anytime
3. Deliver media straight to employee’s computers;
4. Increase collaboration among agency employees; and
5. Reduce costs and scale future communication efforts by creating learning and
presentation modules that can be leveraged many times over.
Video conferencing solutions enable interactive communications, real-time
dissemination of information, and collaboration and problem solving. If
implemented for training and communication purposes, video conferencing will also
support critical communications in the event of an emergency.
Real-time Video Broadcasting
Cisco’s IP/TV solution will be used for broadcasting (via IP multicast) high-quality,
live or prerecorded information to a large audience of more than 200 people.
Broadcast ensures that everyone hears the same message from the same person. The
agency will produce the content it broadcasts over IP/TV.
<<Add here specific uses and topics you would cover with a broadcast solution>>
Video on Demand
Video on demand (VoD) allows the learner to participate in training at his or her own
pace. This can be done during downtime, reducing overtime and the expense of
substitute staffing. VoDs offer a low-cost means of providing individual users
information “on demand,” any time from any networked location. VoDs may be used
in conjunction with both Cisco IP/TV and the web-based virtual classroom in a
blended solution that supports participants who miss a live broadcast.
The agency will also use VoDs to allow constituents to download important public
health information either over the Internet or over a state backbone. For example, a
VoD of “What SARS means to you,” may be developed once by the agency or in
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conjunction with Federal and other resources, and distributed on demand to those
who need the information.
<<Add here specific VoDs the agency will create and VoDs the agency will purchase
Online learning is designed to be supported by mentors and involve discussions and
interaction with other students. Real-time video conferencing enables interactive
discussions, collaboration, and problem solving. The virtual classroom solution
works best for audiences of less than 200 people, requiring frequent live interaction,
demos, audience polling, or question/answer sessions.
<<Add here classes, meetings, or other interactions you plan to hold in a Virtual
E-learning is a powerful way for public health agencies to leverage their network
investment. Cisco E-learning solutions can help agencies ensure that professionals at
local health departments, hospitals and clinics have real-time access to the
information they need to respond quickly and effectively to developing threats. In the
event of an emergency, real-time video broadcasts or conferences will enable state
health departments to instantaneously update local public-health employees about
disease outbreaks or progression. Video conferencing over IP infrastructures also
provides a simple, cost-effective means for real-time collaboration among dispersed
public health professionals. Ongoing training will also be provided over the network
as a cost-effective means for keeping professionals up to date without requiring
classroom or travel expenses.
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<<Advantages over other alternative solutions>>
Tip: Discuss what other technology enhancements you have considered locally and why you
chose the Cisco solution.
Cisco's standards-based E-learning solutions provide public health agencies with a
cost-effective strategy for meeting state and federal training and certification
requirements. Training is transformed into a more student-driven experience. The
schedule, content and location of training can be tailored per student, enabling the
agency to more flexibly and cost-effectively manage their personnel's professional
Traditional instructor-led activities typically cater only to a specific learning style,
and they do not allow for review, remediation, or repeat of the information that is
presented. Instruction is not customized to the needs of the individual learner, rather
it is presented in a way that will allow some of the students to retain and use some of
the information that is presented.
For decades video has been an effective communication vehicle for a widely
dispersed audience, freeing presenters from the need to deliver the same information
over and over again. Yet the challenges and limitations were evident: steep
production and broadcasting costs, the time and expense of physically storing,
tracking, and mailing videotapes to multiple geographic locations, and the
impossibility of delivering immediate, real-time communication. Also, material is
quickly dated and becomes obsolete requiring updating of content and expensive tape
Video is now being re-examined as a training tool because of the availability of
technologies that enable businesses to cost-effectively create digital video assets and
deliver them over an IP-based intranet in real time or on demand. An added benefit of
streaming video is the ability to search for specific video content, track
usage/effectiveness, and more easily maintain accurate, timely content.
E-learning systems can also supplement (rather than replace) traditional teaching
methods and materials, such as classroom discussion, textbooks, CD-ROMs, and non-
Internet computer-based training.
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<<Narrative description of outcomes/benefits to be accrued by the customer as a result of
implementing the solution>>
Tip: Relate the outcomes you expect to accrue as a result of the new technology to your initial
discussion of needs, the more local the better.
E-learning will help agencies improve compliance with continuing education
requirements overall. Many jobs across the agency have consistent or increasing
requirements for continuing education, and the implementation of E-learning will
make these requirements less onerous and improve agency-wide participation in
continuing education. The technology also ensures that more consistent information
is communicated throughout the agency or department, improving efficiency and
The agency can anticipate cost savings on an annual basis over the long term, as
overtime and substitute costs normally associated with training are reduced, and
travel expenses are cut dramatically.
Today developing technologies allow training to focus in on the areas of need for
each team member. With more attention paid to strengthening individual’s
weaknesses, the agency can expect a higher level of individual achievement from
team members, resulting in a faster learning curve and more effective employees at
work. Implementation of an E-learning solution now will allow the agency to enjoy
these benefits as the availability of online content continues to grow.
<<Chart further detailing expected outcomes, suggested indicators, targets, and timeframes>>
Tip: If you have specific (measurable) expectations, replace the more general outcomes here
with specific measurements you will report to the funder at the end of the funding period.
Specific outcomes and indicators include:
Outcomes Indicators Targets/Performance By When
Higher level of Indicators based on 20% improvement in Within one year
individual the specific E- performance indicators
performance Learning program by individuals across
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Outcomes Indicators Targets/Performance By When
Improved agency- Agency-wide Improvement in agency TBD
wide performance performance performance4
Reduced cost for Annual budget for Up to 50-70% reduction Immediately
training training, per staff, in per staff cost of
compared with training5
Improved agency Percent of staff Reduction in percent of Within one year
compliance with members not in staff not in compliance
continuing education compliance with
requirements continuing education
In its many forms, E-learning offers many benefits for emergency response and
public health teams:
Reduced costs: The agency can reduce, or even eliminate, travel expenses for
training; eliminate classroom costs; and reduce the time team members spend away
from the office and their normal duties, thereby incurring less overtime and substitute
Access: Users can access content anywhere they have an Internet connection.
Personalized learning experience: Self-service learning options will let team members
proceed at their own pace, select a content type and delivery vehicle based on
individual preferences, and assemble content modules appropriate to their needs.
Collaborative learning: E-learning allows for the sharing of knowledge and peer
Implementing E-learning in the agency produces a number of other intangible
benefits as well, including optimizing the agility of an organization and its workforce
to better adapt to change. Further, empowering employees to own their own personal
development increases leadership development and creates a culture that motivates
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<<Suggested activities for implementing and monitoring the adoption and results of the
Tip: Based on your conversations with your Cisco Account Team and System Integrator, and
your product requirements and design documents, detail the steps you plan to follow to
implement the solution, including who will be responsible for what (by name or title).
Using requirements documents and system design materials already developed by
Cisco and the System Integrator, the agency will purchase and, with the System
Integrator, install equipment and software necessary to create and distribute content
across the network.
The network will serve as the foundation for delivering high-quality video to users
and storing media assets for easy search and retrieval.
Once the network is in place, the agency will begin to develop and conduct training.
All staff will be oriented to the E-learning system and its use, including the sites that
are maintained for E-learning and any parameters placed on their use. After a brief
orientation, all staff will be expected to participate in a brief E-learning example to
further familiarize them with the system. Network support staff will receive
additional training from Cisco on how to configure network infrastructure
components, determine the necessary redundant and backup WAN connections, and
investigate WAN connectivity alternatives, such as satellite transmission services
dedicated to video broadcast streams as the primary, inter-site transmission medium.
Team members responsible for staff development will develop and deliver
informational materials to all staff on the availability of the E-learning and current
and future course availability, on a regular and ongoing basis.
The agency chief or his or her designee will assume primary responsibility for the
implementation of the new system by monitoring all rollout activities and tracking
the indicated objectives. (S)he will also document training and orientation activities
and report problems and progress to the funder, following the funder’s reporting
In addition to the current staff, no additional personnel will be needed to effectively
operate and manage the system.
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<<Suggestions for documenting ongoing funding potential for the project (often required by
Tip: Most Federal programs will not place a great deal of emphasis on this point, but state and
local funders will want you to demonstrate your plan for ensuring the continued maintenance of
Initial funding will allow the agency to develop system specifications, purchase the
required hardware and software, and pay for any necessary first-year technical
support. Additional E-learning content development and purchase of off the shelf
training materials and additional equipment will be funded by the agency’s operating
budget or by funding from local foundations, other government funding, or other
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“Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics,” Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational
Samuel M. Ehrenhalt, as quoted in Governing Magazine, March 2000, p.36.
WH Hambrecht estimate for “better performance”
Training Magazine/Online Learning, on the Web at http://www.trainingmag.com/training/index.jsp