For the last 30 years, EMS continuing education has mostly been delivered online with simplistic online, non-interactive self-paced courses.  Since then, EMS providers have demanded a new way of completing online EMS continuing education.

Most love video-based courses but hate pieces of training that are one-sided, non-interactive and filled with repetitive information. As EMS educators, we strive to mix common practice with learn-by-fire, and perceptions of what we think our students want with evidence-based training modalities that actually work.

So what is this Virtual Instructor-Led Training thing you keep hearing about?Virtual Instructor Led Training

Many studies have been conducted to understand the relationship between what students retain with simply reading an online course versus watching and participating in the course.  Would you believe that students retain only 10% of what they read and watch online versus 50% of what they hear and participate in, in an online class?  The enormous difference in online students and the way they learn is forcing EMS educators to find new ways to educate their staff with interactive, live, online education.

In Virtual Instructor-Led Training, online training is conducted by an experienced EMS educator using an online virtual classroom, which allows for full interaction from any computer and or mobile device.  The students can interact with each other as well as educators through chat, audio, and visual tools.  The EMS educator can push documents out to the students, have them participate in group discussions, whiteboard activities and even allow the student to be the presenter of content during the live session to other students which by the way, these students can be located anywhere in the world.  They are not confined to a classroom.  All of this is done in real-time.

Here are 5 reasons why you should use VILT for your EMS continuing education.

1. Train anyone, anywhere with a human element

Most of the education delivered is while we are on shift.  As you could imagine, there are many challenges with this.  The crew gets a call and has to leave the training and they leave their response area to drive to training leaving their area uncovered.   So, it makes absolute sense to utilize an online tool to deliver training real-time, keeping the employees engaged and motivated and participating rather than sending them a PowerPoint presentation or a recording of a ppt delivered to students in a classroom.  VILT EMS continuing education can be disseminated from anywhere and employees can attend from their ambulance station, their post while they are sitting in an ambulance, or from home or anywhere they may be in the world. As stated earlier, this can save an organization a huge amount of money that is otherwise spent on traveling and moving ambulances and other emergency vehicles around to cover areas.   Also, VILT offers a human element and thus employees feel personally mentored.

2. Student Engagement

VILT allows students to ask questions, express their views on the subject matter, engage in classroom discussions and get the EMS continuing education they need irrespective of their location.   The students can make notes, share private chats and files with the educator and other students and learn in a group setting instead of an online self-paced course which is one-sided and doesn’t really give the student the opportunity to ask questions.

3. Track Real-Time Records For Compliance

Using VILT, the EMS educator can track user’s performance by using built-in tools that track student participation from the time they were in the VILT classroom, what questions they answered, the discussion the student participated in and the documents they downloaded.  You can even display real-time feedback to an individual student and to the group.  Using VILT, it is much easier to ensure they are actively participating in education and be able to provide instant feedback to the student.

4. Set Up The Classroom To Fit Your Students Needs

Often enough, EMS agencies train following the same learning objectives but demand the education be delivered around their operational needs for how their employees receive the continuing education online.  With VILT classrooms, EMS agencies can disseminate information much faster than ever before while at the same time ensuring their employees are getting the continuing education they need and have analytics to show the delivery of the education for compliance and records automatically.

5. Easy To Use VILT Platforms

There are a number of tools you can use to create engaging VILT content, such as ZOOM, Adobe Connect, Camtasia Studio and many more.   With these tools, you can not only deliver the content to your students but you can also create the content to ensure it is engaging, keeps the students attention and is easily delivered to the student in the online VILT classrooms.  Most importantly, the cost savings of utilizing VILT classrooms have been shown to save EMS agencies up to 40% on their annual education budgets allowing them to focus those dollars on other training initiatives.  Companies like MedEdNow ( have online EMS educators that departments can contract with to deliver the NREMT core requirement allowing the agency to focus on more specific localized training that meets their department’s needs.

VILT offers an opportunity for the agency and or the individual student to establish clear communication in real time between students, educators, and other participants.  This means that if your EMS agency has an effective VILT program, you can exceed your department’s training goals for knowledge retention and participation by your staff, while at the same time reducing your overall educational cost and making it easier for your workforce to get the education they need from anywhere they are.

Programs like MedEdNows’ VILT programs take a blended learning approach to help EMS departments and individual students get their CAPCE accredited NREMT EMT or Paramedic NCCR Refreshers online.  With a combination of self-paced and virtual instructor-led training, they provide the most flexible online solution for departments and individuals looking to complete the NREMT Refresher online.

Wouldn’t you rather have a happy and engaging student instead of one who complains about the “boring” PowerPoint recording?