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C&P Disability Examination Training for Clinicians

Oak Grove has designed and developed 20+ accredited online modules for the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Disability and Medical Assessment (DMA) and a target audience of clinicians who conduct disability examinations with Veterans and Service Members. The disability examinations are part of the compensation and pension (C&P) claims process that Veterans and Service Members initiate with the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). Veterans may also appeal decisions on their claims to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA). Specifically, we developed web-based training (WBT) on the department-wide process of preparing for, conducting, and documenting a legally defensible disability examination aligned with the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD) found in 38 CFR Part 4. The web-based training has been part of a broader effort to streamline the disability claims process and reduce the amount of examination reports being returned to examiners for remediation, with the ultimate goal of diminishing a backlog of unprocessed claims for benefits.

Oak Grove instructional designers facilitated face-to-face and online meetings with practicing C&P clinicians from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), VBA administrators, and BVA attorneys to develop and refine content. Each course used a fictional case study supported by text, artifacts, and videos to demonstrate preparing for, conducting, and documenting an examination as a C&P examiner. The videos in particular showed C&P examiners interacting empathetically with Veterans and Service Members within the parameters of highly regulated disability examinations.

CHALLENGE:

Our main challenges have been: 1) finishing batches of 3-7 modules in short time frames; 2) creating engaging, interactive courseware using a standardized process; 3) condensing several hours of video and hundreds of pages of instructional content into modules that averaged an hour of seat time; and 4) developing relevant training on a process that was sometimes affected by regulatory and policy changes during content development and WBT production.

SOLUTION:

Oak Grove developed a comprehensive, standardized DMA style to achieve a cohesive structure and look and feel for the content presented across multiple modules. We also communicated the standards to our VA workgroups early in each project’s life cycle. Our peer reviewers and quality assurance reviewers thus had clear standards to work from and instructional designers, media staff, and developers could focus on creating engaging presentations and interactions within clear guidelines.

Oak Grove instructional designers established a best day and time for ongoing meetings with subject matter experts through the analysis, design, and development phases of each project. Having a dedicated weekly meeting time scheduled well in advance on their busy schedules made it easier for subject matter experts to meet and work on the modules. It also ensured a steady ongoing pace for content gathering and for formative or summative evaluations of deliverables from each phase. VHA had stringent requirements for conforming with Section 508 accessibility standards for online modules hosted on their learning management system. Oak Grove’s 508 specialists conducted reviews of storyboards as well as developed online products to ensure that all media elements were conformant. In addition, Oak Grove was qualified and able to certify our developed modules as 508 compliant for VA’s purposes when demands were high for VA’s 508-compliance reviewers. Both of these practices saved time in the development phase.

CLIENT:

Department of Veterans Affairs

MARKET:

Federal Government

NATURE OF WORK:

eLearning/Multimedia

RESULTS:

The resulting courseware provides clinicians with the information they need to support VBA in making timely and fair determinations on disability claims for our nation’s Veterans and Service Members.

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