CNDLS Partners with American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to Create Online Training Module

The Learning Design team at CNDLS recently completed a unique project in partnership with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), creating a maternal and family interview training module for the National Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Program (NFIMR). It was the first time CNDLS took on an external-to-Georgetown online module development project, and we sat down with NFIMR Director Dr. Jodi Shaefer to understand the impact this online module has had on the program.

The Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) is an action-oriented community process that continually assesses, monitors, and works to improve service systems and community resources for women, infants, and families. The National Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Program (NFIMR) began as a collaborative effort between ACOG and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, part of the Health Resources and Services Administration under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These organizations have worked together since 1990 to refine and promote the FIMR process by developing resources that support the work of FIMR.

In her role as Director of NFIMR, Shaefer often visits FIMR program offices throughout the US to understand and troubleshoot any issues they may be facing. Through her visits, Shaefer noted several programs struggling with shared challenges, such as locating mothers following the death of a baby, securing consent from mothers to participate in an interview, and navigating difficult conversations with bereaved parents. She also noted several programs that were successful in these areas, and began to compile “best practices”—an undertaking that presented its own set of challenges. With the goal of gathering and sharing these strategies nationwide on a modest budget, Shaefer drew on her experiences in online development to imagine an efficient, cost-effective online tool that could disseminate this information across the country.

At the recommendation of a Georgetown colleague, Shaefer connected with CNDLS Director of Learning Design and Research Yianna Vovides to bring this project—taking shape as an online training module—to life.

“People exposed to the module love it. Having all of that information in one module that they can access is so helpful. It is truly an aggregate of information from the field, and not just one person’s perspective. We talked to people in the field about what they needed–and what would be helpful–and engaged in discussions with a number of FIMR programs across the country. That’s the key for success with things like this. You really need to hear from the user what they need. It look a little longer than expected, but the results are great.”

Vovides assembled a team of instructional designers, technologists, and visual and media designers to carry out the project. Together, they worked closely with Shaefer throughout the learning design process, defining objectives and goals for each module, creating a storyboard, and developing the module with interactive elements and technological integrations using Articulate Storyline. Of particular importance was the need to accurately represent the population that FIMR works with in the design of the module.

“The graphics were really great. We have to be very careful that anyone looking at the module really has a broad sense of the diversity within the population. The graphics were effective and inclusive, and the responsiveness to detail was excellent.”

The result is a comprehensive, accessible tool that captures a range of strategies to doing the work of FIMR. This project has given CNDLS a new range, allowing us to better understand how to support training in a professional development capacity. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with ACOG on this important project and look forward to a continued partnership!