Instructional Design in a Pandemic: The Safe Hands Game

 In Articulate Storyline, Design, E-learning, Gamification, Health, Instructional Design

This blog post lists the imperatives for an instructional design and elearning design team to design an effective microlearning experience on how to wash your hands.

Click the link to view elearning: Safe Hands Microlearning Game

Why choose to design a micro-learning experience on how to wash your hands? There are hundreds of videos, tools, and educational aids already out there that aim to teach how to wash hands? Why do you need another one?

In these COVID19 times, washing your hands is not like washing your hands in other times. It is a mission critical task. You’ve been washing your hands like forever. And, now more than ever you have seen umpteen videos on how to wash your hands.

Yet, the question remains…are you washing your hands correctly? Are you washing them per the infection control guidelines set for health practitioners in health care setting? If your answer is “maybe,” “I don’t know” or “not really” then of course, we need another “how to handwash” microlearning. If your answer is “yes,” even then we need another “how to handwash” microlearning to confirm your behavior, affirm your belief, and motivate you to keep doing the right thing.

How difficult can it be to wash your hands as per infection control protocols? Without training, it would be almost accidental for someone to wash their hands correctly. Here are few illustrations of errors that may arise. These are very obvious from a basic task analysis of the handwashing step sequence.

If you take the anti-microbial soap before you wet your hands, you may wash away the soap itself from your hands when you hold your hands under running water.

If you do not wet your hands before you take the soap, you may not be able to evenly spread the anti-microbial soap because your hands will not be moist enough.

If you do not move to rubbing the back of hands after rubbing the palms, you may not evenly distribute the soap to all surfaces of the hands.

If you rub the back of your hands before you rub the palms, you may risk the soap falling off your hands.

If you believe having foam over your hands is good enough, you are mistaken. You need to rub the soap over each nook, corner, and pocket of your hand, cover all surfaces, and do it consciously. The six steps of rubbing your hands when illustrated with the area of the hand being covered suddenly make sense; you don’t want to miss any area—the back of your fingers, the thumbs, between your fingers and so obvious yet often forgotten depths of your palms.

If you turn off the tap before you dry your hands, you risk infecting your hands again.

If you do not use the towel to turn off the tap, you risk infecting your hands again.

Taps and handles are the biggest germ harboring surfaces.

And, to top it all, if you think your super-fast and super-efficient soap requires you to spend less time washing your hands, it means less contact time between the anti-microbial soap and surface areas of your hands. The 20-30 second time is suggested for alcohol-based handrub and not anti-microbial soap handwash. An alcohol-based sanitizer evaporates; it requires you to do the six steps in a shorter duration. A proper handwash requires you to spend 40-60 seconds doing it.

Add to all this, the instructional designer’s dilemma: how do I assess the understanding of the handwash step sequence? How do I ensure that the learner can get it right each time? How do I reinforce the behavior and encourage a habit?

Here’s the Safe Hands Microlearning Game—Give it a try!

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