Virtual Classroom and Online Training Standards

What is the difference between online training and virtual classroom instruction?

“Virtual classroom” means a synchronous, instructor-led, remote learning environment conducted in real time.

“Online Training” means a course taken through an automated, asynchronous learning management system or other technology.

Virtual Classroom Standards

  • Only DSHS approved curriculum, other than hands-on skills training as required in WAC 388.112A.0300, may be taught in a virtual classroom environment during times of emergency when in-person classroom training is prohibited
  • Training programs seeking DSHS approval for virtual training beyond times of emergency must submit a Virtual Classroom Training Application Form.  You will be asked to:
    • Identify the video conferencing software or application to be used;
    • Submit a written description of how classroom activities will be modified for effective instruction in the virtual classroom environment;
    • Either submit a recorded demonstration of the virtual classroom in use, or schedule an opportunity for the department to view a live example of the virtual classroom.
  • “Virtual classroom” means an instructor-led, remote learning environment conducted in real time using video conferencing technology that:
    • Allows for two-way audio and video communication between the instructor and all students;
    • Allows the instructor to monitor student engagement;
    • Allows the instructor and students to participate, interact, present, show work, and ask and answer questions;
    • Allows the instructor to break students into virtual small groups for work and discussion if required by the curriculum;
    • Allows the instructor to monitor each small group individually as they work and interact;
    • Allows the instructor to maintains a record of attendance
  • The instructor shall provide each student with a physical or electronic copy of the text and any other required materials.
  • The instructor shall assure that the course is taught fully and according to the hours required.

For courses requiring competency testing, the Instructor must provide a safe and reliable way to administer the test and verify the identity of the student.

Online Training Standards

Generally, in order for DSHS to approve curriculum, the training must meet Washington state requirements and be within the scope of practice for long-term care workers. Online courses must also meet standards in design, functionality, and usability that are detailed below.  

Please note that DSHS will not approve online training classes that do not meet our online training standards, and will not accept courses that include rapid eLearning players or automatically advancing slides that do not require learner participation.

The following standards apply to all online training courses submitted for approval.

Copyright, fair use and licensing

Online course content must adhere to all copyright, fair use, and licensing requirements. The course must clearly state the copyright and licensing status of all non-original content, including video and music, with written permission to use. Fair use standards include the following prohibitions:

  • Denying credit to the original author or creator.
  • Using nonprofit content in commercial activity or for profit product.
  • Using the written content, videos, and/or images produced by others as the majority of your course, i.e. the percentage of your online course that is original is less than percentage that was produced by other sources.
  • Using the work of others for repeated or long-term use.

Online courses must include detailed reference pages.

Self-paced learning models

Only self-paced learning models will be considered. Self-paced learning is defined as learning which requires the student to read, view, or listen to educational material with interactive checkpoints and activities prior to the final test. By contrast, self-study online learning, such as reading or viewing material without interactive checkpoints, does not meet our online standards and will not be reviewed by the department.

Formatting that meets basic standards of readability

Use subheadings, short sentences, bullets, graphics, and white space for ease of reading.

Learning objectives

List the specific skills and/or knowledge that the learner will have as a result of taking the course. Learning objectives should be observable behaviors (e.g. state, list, discuss, show, document, record, identify, use, recite, etc.).

A table of contents and course overview

Online courses must begin with a complete overview of course content, including instructions on course functionality and navigation.

Interactive activities, checkpoints, and exercises

Online courses are required to have interactive activities and checkpoints that directly relate to course content. These interactive activities and checkpoints are required throughout the course to promote learner engagement and participation. Most eLearning software (Articulate, Captivate, Blackboard, etc.) have numerous options for building interactive activities. The purpose of these activities is to gauge the learners understanding of the material presented in the course. The learner should not be able to proceed through the course without engaging and successfully completing the activities.

Examples of these interactive activities and checkpoints include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Scenarios with multiple responses and a best response
  • Case studies with multiple responses and a best response
  • Multiple choice quizzes
  • True/false checkpoints
  • Drag and drop matching activities
  • Fill in the blank activities
  • Chat and email options

Learning guidance

Include case studies, examples, stories, and graphics to illustrate the concept that are being taught. Relating the course information to the actual experience of long-term caregiving illustrates relevancy and helps the learner retain the information. Curriculum that is outside the scope of practice for long-term care workers will not be approved.

Module reviews and/or final test at the end with 80% pass rate

Online courses must include a final test and the pass rate must be 80%. If the material is long or complex, there should also be module reviews that require successful completion before advancing. If a learner does not receive an 80% pass rate after multiple attempts, they may not obtain credit for completing the course.

Final test questions reflect learning objectives

Final test questions must reflect the course’s learning objectives. The questions should be clearly written, and have one correct answer. 

The ability to review prior to final test

Online courses should provide the learner with the ability to review course content prior to the final test. When the course content is successfully completed, prior to the final test, the eLearning software should allow the learner to easily navigate back throughout the course until they feel prepared to take the test.

Downloadable resources

Provide downloadable resources such as guides or handouts that reinforce course comprehension and learning. Job aids such as these are a benefit to the learner and become a reference guide for the future.

Instructional and technical support

Learners should be able to access instructional and technical support within 24 business hours. The online course should provide clear instructions for learners to understand where they can direct their questions about functionality and content. An instructor or representative must be available within 24 hours during the business week.

 Footnote: Washington State Training Requirements

Long-term care worker training (including, but not limited to, the below list) must be consistent with Washington state law. Please refer to the following:

  • Core competencies, learning objectives, and topics are provided in chapters 388-112A and 388-71 WAC for orientation, safety, core basic, specialty training, continuing education, nurse delegation core, nurse delegation diabetes, and adult education;
  • In-person skills-training requirements (minimum of 12 hours) required in chapters 388-112A and 388-71 WAC;
  • Food safety training for adult family homes in RCW 70.128.250;
  • Mandatory reporting requirements consistent with RCW 74.34.035; and
  • The home care aide’s scope of practice defined in WAC 246-980-140.

Revised 8/2018