Quality in a lactation course? What does that mean?
First of all we have to look at what is the purpose of education in the first place. Then ask how can an instructor structure the educational content to make the time spent on it as valuable as possible.
What is the purpose of education?
Why do we bother with learning? In general, the purpose is to help facilitate positive behavior change. If the educational activity does not lead to change somehow then it was ineffective. Even if you are an expert on something the activity should at the very least reinforce your level of expertise but the really good educational activities add to your expertise, or even better have you reflect on what you believe and why do you believe that. Reflection is a powerful tool for behavior change.
The best educational objectives have measurable outcomes:
The participant will be able to demonstrate hand expression on a breast model.
The participant will be able to calculate appropriate feeding amounts for a two day old baby.
The participant will be able to conduct an oral exam on an infant.
These are the kinds of skills needed to best help breastfeeding families.
Many times “education” is really just about checking a box so you can move to the next box to reach a goal. Much of the time continuing education, especially online continuing education, consists of clicking through Power Points. Even if you were excited about the material originally this activity becomes mundane. It can’t hold your attention. The whole purpose was lost. Really a waste of the learner’s time. No behaviors could be changed because the opportunities to change behaviors weren’t even there.
Lecture courses are the same, although paying attention is easier. But even if a new idea is shared it will soon leave your brain because again, you can’t do anything with it. It has to be such a strong idea that we will remember it and take it back to our work and utilize it. The fact is this doesn’t happen very often.
Behavior change is hard.
As humans we like what is familiar. What feels safe. To get someone excited or angry enough to change the way we do things is challenging. Stories help. When we feel moved by a story we are more likely to actually do something about it.
Given all this, how do we get high quality in a lactation course? In our opinion, it is setting up the learning experience so that the participant has to think about things and actually do something with the new information presented. You can’t just sit and either passively listen to or click through lectures, online or in person.
One of the things we do that is different in our 90 hour professional lactation course is have families come in and share their stories about breastfeeding struggles. As a class, we then practice our assessment skills, our communication skills, gathering the information needed to help them move forward, then actually create a plan together for breastfeeding success. Practicing clinical and communication skills you will use every day.
If you want to check a box on your way to a better job or getting your IBCLC certification, take another course. If you want to get really good at helping families reach their breastfeeding goals, take mine.
Sign up now!