Course Title:

Leading Change Through Health Informatics, BSPH


Original course was well-designed and incorporated content in a variety of formats: readings, recorded lectures, and both recorded and synchronous interviews with experts in the field. However, some students were less engaged, contributing to weaker learning outcomes. To engage with more learners, sustain learners’ interest, and increase comprehension, active learning strategies were integrated that featured authentic, scenario-based learning.

Areas of Focus:

  • Incorporate active learning strategies
“Though creating the activity with the instructional designer was time consuming, it was well worth it both during the event and from student evaluations. Facilitating the activity also allowed for real-time response to questions in a relevant context.

 Ashwini Davison, former Health Informatics instructor

  • Barrier to Student Success

    Some students struggled to apply insights provided through video interviews, recorded lectures, and associated readings about organizational readiness for change in respect to establishing governance in health information technology.

  • Solution

    This course’s faculty wanted to diversify their course content towards increased and sustained engagement while also strengthening the students’ comprehension, allowing students to internalize and apply what they were learning. In discussing these desires and reflecting on the course objectives, they worked with an instructional designer in brainstorming how best to address the two items (instructional goals and learning objectives). Focusing on the course goal to “develop strategies involved in conducting organizational change management and establishing governance” and active learning as a strategy, the online interactive simulation was selected as the technology best suited to integrate in her course design.

    While other third-party simulation technologies were considered, the ultimate determination was stick with a technology supported by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (BSPH): the PathFinder tool. This scenario-based, active learning option is part of the BSPH CoursePlus learning management system (LMS) platform. The activity requires faculty script a scenario, or story, that takes students through a series of decision points. Each time a student is faced with a decision, the faculty has the opportunity to build in automated feedback – even scaffolded support – based on the student choice. And each choice can, in turn, allow students to start over, try that decision again, continue to the next decision point in the scenario, or find success in completion. Taking the storyline, pathways, optional feedback, and actual creation of the activity into consideration, the simulation takes a lot of “up front” work on behalf of the faculty. However, as demonstrated in this instance, the well-designed PathFinder usually leads to satisfaction on behalf of the faculty and students both.

    In choosing a tool inside of the BSPH CoursePlus system, faculty made certain the activity:

    • Was readily available to everyone enrolled in the course site
    • Required no user requirements beyond the LMS terms of service
    • Was verified as digitally accessible
    • Provided immediate, automated feedback (as designed by faculty) to students during and upon completion

    Challenges included:

    • Time
      • Quality simulation-based (also referred to as scenario-based) learning takes careful planning including developing the story, deciding the decision points, and writing appropriate choices with results and feedback
  • Student Testimonial

    “I loved it! It was a great way to learn because I felt like I was actually in the situation. I was able to visualize what this scenario would be like in real life. It was very practical, not merely theoretical.”

    Great exercise! I appreciate the work that all of you have done to make this class engaging, and to help us actually contextualize the information you’re giving us!”   

    The simulation sessions were incredibly helpful and let me really work with tools such as readiness assignments hands-on.”  

  • Alignment with UDL
  • Additional Information

    Course Details: Leading Change Through Health Informatics is an online 8-week course with one faculty of record and two teaching assistants.
    : Bloomberg School of Public Health, Health Policy and Management

    HUDL Ambassador: Celine Greene
    Instructional Designer: Celine Greene
    Faculty Name: Ashwini Davison, former instructor

    About the CoursePlus Pathfinder Tool (CTL CoursePlus Faculty Help Guide)

    Quick Look: Creating Choice-based Simulations with PathFinder (CTL Blog)

    PDF Printout of Partially Completed Pathfinder Activity in Student View