Setting the Stage for Success

Setting the Stage for Success: Five Training Best Practices for WIC Telehealth Programs 

Effective training for WIC State Agency and local agency staff is essential for project success. This is especially true when implementing a new solution. THIS-WIC interviewed telehealth vendors to understand their perspective on effective elements of trainings for WIC State Agency and local agency trainings. The following recommendations can help ensure that State Agencies and local agency staff feel prepared for adopting telehealth solutions.    

Organize a Train-the-Trainer Model with State Agency Staff for Local Agencies 

Consider employing a train-the-trainer model with WIC State Agency staff leading training for local agency staff. As a vendor explained, “engaging State staff and having that kind of internal buy-in and enthusiasm was helpful” for training. This approach can demonstrate the State Agency’s knowledge of the solution and provide a forum for sharing state-specific tips with local agency staff.  

Coordinate Hands-On Experience During Training 

Trainings should focus primarily on providing time with hands-on experience for WIC staff to use and practice with the technology solution. The more access staff have to the solution, the more comfortable they will become with using it. As one vendor explained, “I don’t think we necessarily thought that they really needed to see like the participant side of things, but they did.  And I think that was vital for the staff to see exactly what the participant sees.” Vendors recommended organizing as many opportunities as possible for role playing, including holding “practice” calls with staff to work out any technical issues.  

Share Client-Side Experience During Training 

Vendors should also consider sharing the client-side experience with staff, as it’s beneficial for staff to see what the participant sees. As one vendor noted, “I think that was vital for the staff to see exactly what the [WIC participant] sees…And that that’s kind of where that whole crossover, you know, like having different sets of eyes on it from different perspectives that you come up with a really good product in the end.” Including both the client and staff experiences makes trainings more effective and useful and helps prepare staff to use it for real.  

Plan for Training Refreshers 

Training refreshers are essential, especially after some time has passed since the initial training. Vendors recommended setting at least one refresher training during the first year to ensure that staff are using the solution correctly and to help onboard new staff.  

Create Training Videos for Scale and Sustainability  

Creating a training video is a great way to provide future training for new users as well as “refreshers.” According to one vendor, “a training video would be great to be able to share…especially if [the telehealth solution] grows in the future.” Staff members can go back and refresh their memory on using the solution, and new staff members can have access to the same training while minimizing burden on State Agency staff and limiting the need to re-engage vendors.