Continuing education has been a core fundamental of Heartland Dental since the organization was founded. From the start, we have designed a system to support the non-clinical needs of dentists, so they can focus on patient care. But we wanted to take that support even further.
We wanted to offer supported dentists opportunities to hone the clinical knowledge they possess, gain new knowledge of cutting edge techniques and technology, and discover communication and leadership skills they may never have learned before. For the past 17 years, Heartland Dental has continually offered these opportunities, which have positively impacted the overall clinical and leadership abilities of supported dentists.
“In order to be leaders in their communities, dentists need the best tools and resources to build upon their skills and knowledge,” said Rick Workman, DMD, Founder and Active Executive Chairman at Heartland Dental. “It has been our mission to provide that. We offer tools and resources, whether educational or other support services, that dentists don’t have easy access to elsewhere.”
Offering nationwide continuing education opportunities is only one part of meeting the overall educational needs of supported dentists and team members. An easy, effective way to deliver educational content is needed. A central hub of information that can be accessed anywhere, anytime is needed.
That is now a reality with Heartland Dental Homeroom, a learning management system available to all Heartland Dental supported dentists and team members designed to advance their overall continuing education experience.
What is a Learning Management System?
Homeroom is a learning management system (LMS). Just as Gmail helps organize and manage emails and Microsoft Word helps create and organize documents, an LMS helps users organize, track and manage continuing education courses and information. For organizers and instructors, an LMS helps them create and deliver these continuing education courses and information.
Online education management has become the norm for many modern businesses and schools. In 2012, corporate training as a whole was a $200 billion industry, in which online learning represented around $56 billion. That number has doubled today. According to a 2013 Kineo study, over 41.7 percent of global Fortune 500 companies now utilize online technology for training and education. The LMS market alone is expected to grow to over $7 billion by 2018.
“Homeroom will help us take our mission of offering world-class educational opportunities even further. Today’s team members in any organization seek communication and education that’s both valuable, user-friendly and widely accessible.”
Director of Education at Heartland Dental
An LMS is a powerful resource for organizations focused on training and professional development, whether it’s for staffing agencies or extension schools or corporations. This powerful software combines database management with the digital framework for managing curricula, training materials and evaluation tools. The impact of an LMS is mostly felt outside of traditional educational institutions, though the same technology is slowly finding its way into even those areas.
The use of an LMS for training and teaching is still a relatively new concept. However, demand for learning management systems is steadily growing. With the increase in demand, trends are emerging that are sure to shape the evolution of these systems. Many users desire remote network-based storage options and integration with messaging systems and software that are already used widely. Users also desire systems that can be easily merged with technology that is already being used throughout their companies or industry.
As these systems evolve and become even more user friendly, these systems are likely to become even more widely implemented. Heartland Dental’s Homeroom is just one example on an LMS. For Heartland Dental users specifically, it means gaining yet another opportunity to advance their skills and knowledge in their specific positions.
How Does Homeroom Work?
For Heartland Dental supported dentists and team members, Homeroom will serve as the central location for managing all educational content and resources. There, users can access web-based training, view process documentation, browse other educational materials and Heartland Dental learning modules, manage course registrations and more.
A wide variety of training modules are offered in the platform, some that are educational for all users and some that are specifically targeted for certain positions, such as Business Assistants, Hygienists, Dental Assistants and more. In addition, Homeroom serves as another great way to communicate with supported team members. As each team member has their own login, they can receive important updates, messages and other communication directly submitted to each user’s account through the system.
“Homeroom will help us take our mission of offering world-class educational opportunities even further. Today’s team members in any organization seek communication and education that’s both valuable, user-friendly and widely accessible. We can meet these needs of our supported dentists and team members with Homeroom,” explained Meredith Fulton, Director of Education at Heartland Dental. “We’re excited to see the positive impact this will have for them and our company as a whole.”
With Homeroom, Heartland Dental is working to achieve:
- Centralized learning for doctors and teams: Training, performance and development content is offered at all times from the same source, ensuring consistency in the evaluation and delivery of the material, meaning every user sees the same content through the same manner.
- Tracking and reporting capabilities: Progress of users can be tracked, records can be reviewed and users can register for more than one course. Courses can be offered through web-based training, webinars and other forms of instructor-led training. System managers can then access the records of those who participated to analyze which areas need improvement.
- A streamlined learning process: Overall, Homeroom will provide a simplified education process, accommodating multiple user-friendly features including recording and tracking, documentation and administration, as well as enriched learning.
Another valuable feature of Homeroom is its wide accessibility. People want information readily available at their fingertips. With Homeroom being available online, the system can be accessed by team members anywhere, whether at the office or from the comfort of a user’s home.
“Accessibility was an important element we considered when developing Homeroom,” explained Fulton. “Before, we could only offer education and training at designated locations at designated times. Now, that information will also be readily available at our team members’ convenience. In addition, we can send out important company updates on a mass scale.”
Why Homeroom is a Necessity
For any business or company (including dental offices) to find ongoing success in today’s world, continuing education is not an option, it’s a necessity.
“The implementation of Homeroom is another great example of why we have become the largest dental support organization in the country. We take the necessary steps, in this case committing to innovative technology, for the benefit of supported dentists and team members.”
President and Chief Executive Officer at Heartland Dental
Modern technologies in communication such as cloud, mobile and video, along with a widespread availability of faster and cheaper internet, have led to revolutionary changes in the way information and knowledge can be provided. Organizations need to adapt to these trends and start rethinking how team members are educated.
Adapting means that training and education need to be continuous, easily accessible and delivered in real-time. While accumulated education was the norm yesterday, smaller, variable training (accessible on any device, anywhere, and made part of a team member’s daily routine) is crucial in today’s hyper-paced environment.
“Heartland Dental’s ongoing growth doesn’t simply mean supporting the opening of new dental offices or affiliating with existing dental offices, it means identifying new ways to better communicate with supported dentists and team members, as well as offering the resources needed for them to be the best they can be each day,” said Patrick Bauer, President and Chief Executive Officer at Heartland Dental. “The implementation of Homeroom is another great example of why we have become the largest dental support organization in the country. We take the necessary steps, in this case committing to innovative technology, for the benefit of supported dentists and team members.”
For education to be truly effective, technology plays a more crucial role than ever before to meet today’s demands.
Another Advancing Step for Heartland Dental
Over the past decade, Heartland Dental has made incorporating state-of-the-art technology in all aspects of our support services a priority. Our information technology team utilizes advanced security systems, our marketing team uses the latest social media management platforms, website management and online marketing tools, our supplies procurement team generates savings on advanced equipment, our clinical affairs team researches and recommends what advanced equipment to use, the list goes on and on. Now, Homeroom is another state-of-the-art way for our education team to advance what can be offered – and we’ve barely scratched the surface on what Homeroom can do.
“The training and educational modules and materials that can be currently accessed on Homeroom, as well as the communication aspects of the system, are only the first steps of what we can accomplish,” added Bauer. “As we move forward, there are many ways we can expand on this system even further. As the industry moves forward, the educational needs of dentists will continue to change. With Homeroom, we are primed to meet those needs.”