CareAcademy: Mobile Learning to Upskill and Certify Adults for In-Demand Career in Home Health
Senior care is one of the fastest growing segments of the American labor force, and certified home health aides (HHAs) are especially in demand. The field testing of CareAcademy proved that blended mobile learning can remove barriers to this promising career pathway. In only six weeks, while continuing to work, 85 percent of participating domestic caregivers received home health aide certification—along with a near-term raise and room for advancement. Here’s what we learned:
- Blended mobile learning increases access to in-demand career pathways: Mobile learning, blended with some in-person instruction, can fast-track the training and certification of home health aides, saving the learners (and their employers) time and money.
- Collaboration with employers filling high-demand jobs increases relevancy of content and supports near-term advancement for adult learners: Partnerships between employers and educators create highly relevant, work-focused scenarios that directly increase employment opportunity.
- The creative use of multimedia and video makes mobile learning more engaging and comprehensible. CareAcademy offered a rich multimedia experience to prepare learners, with professionally acted and produced videos, readings, graphics, and short interactive assessment activities.
- The right pace for adult learners supports persistence: Learners appreciated the more compact schedule, as it limited the amount of time they were both working and studying and kept them motivated toward gaining certification in only six weeks.
Field Testing CareAcademy:
The company’s newest curriculum fills a crucial knowledge gap with accessible mobile learning, certification, and career advancement opportunities for new home health aides. We partnered with Best of Care, a CareAcademy client, to field test a new six-week blended learning course to advance more of the company’s incumbent employees from domestic caregivers (supporting house, laundry, and grocery tasks) to certified Home Health Aides (providing more hands-on patient care, such as transferring, feeding, bathing, and taking vital signs). Each week, the domestic caregivers completed 10 hours of mobile instruction (and passed mobile quizzes) before attending a four-hour class for hands-on practice of the skills studied, instructed by a nurse.
How We Know That It Works:
- Persistence: Seven of eight learners persisted.
- Success in certification: Six passed the certification exam; one needed additional time because of language challenges.
- Advancement: After final certification, the employer expects that field testers will qualify for around a 5 percent raise and will be eligible for longer shifts and overall better job quality.
Why it Works for Working Adult Learners:
Use a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Study digestible lessons in short bursts, and pick up where you left off.
|Blended learning appropriate for hands-on professions
Learners complete 60 hours of mobile learning and 20 hours of classroom instruction to participate in discussion and hands-on demonstration of the physical aspects of the jobs.
Videos help students stay engaged and prepare for in-person demonstrations of patient care.
Field Testing Partners
- Best of Care, MA
- Accessible Health Care, MA
Best of Care domestic caregivers seeking to advance to certified Home Health Aides (HHAs)
“Quite simply, CareAcademy is at the forefront of on-demand caregiver education. While in-person training will always be valuable to our caregivers, the opportunity to provide our home care aides with high-quality training materials that can be consumed at their convenience is a real difference-maker. Helen and her team understand that caregiving is a 24/7 industry and caregivers struggle to sacrifice scheduled work-time to complete educational requirements.”
President and Chief Operating Officer, Best of Care
“CareAcademy’s solutions meet two major needs in the United States—a major shortage of certified senior caregivers for a growing senior population and a large number of lower-skilled adults struggling to find meaningful employment. By making training and education accessible, CareAcademy is giving workers in-demand skills to start and advance a career in healthcare.”
Managing Director, Employment Technology Fund
Teri, one of Best of Care’s employees to earn her HHA credential during the field test, now applies her skills to the benefit of her patients. Just after completing CareAcademy’s course, she was supporting a patient in hospice with care providers from another agency and became uncomfortable with the manager’s communication style with the patient. In Teri’s words, “It seemed like she had missed the empathy class.” Meaning, it was clear that the manager had not been trained in empathy and communication for homebound older adults, especially those near end of life.
Teri saw value in what she learned and made a conscious effort to apply new skills and thinking in her work. She is now confident in situations that are commonly uncomfortable for caregivers, such as communicating with a person nearing the end of life.
Teri is also looking forward to longer, stabler work shifts and overall better job quality, including up to a 5 percent wage increase as a Home Health Aide.