10 Ways to Keep Your CPR Students Engaged

10 Ways to Keep Your CPR Students Engaged

Have you ever stood in front of a classroom full of CPR students and watched as some played on their phones, doodled, or even dozed off? It’s normal for people’s minds to wander, especially in a long class. Your challenge as a CPR Instructor is to bring them back to the present moment by actively engaging them in various ways. Here are some of our favorite ways to keep your CPR students engaged, increasing overall learning and retention.

1. Call on your students by name

One of the simplest yet effective ways to keep CPR students engaged is to address them by name. This personal touch not only fosters a sense of connection, but it also encourages active participation.

At the beginning of class, ask everyone to state their name and why they’re taking the class. Take a mental note of each student’s workplace and any personal details that you can connect back to later in the CPR course. Maybe you have medical professionals who can share their experiences or have students with unique workplace challenges that you can address, such as school staff.

Learning names shows your class that you’re invested in them as individuals, as well as their CPR certification success.

If you have trouble remembering names, have each student write his or her name on a place card.

2. Tell students what to expect

Start by letting your class know the schedule for the day, so they know what to expect. For example, outline when they will use training manikins, when they will get breaks, and when they will practice skills. This lets your students mentally prepare for the day.

Be willing to alter the schedule based on class interaction. If you’re losing their attention, it might be time for a quick break versus waiting another hour.

3. Ask open-ended questions

Encourage critical thinking and student engagement by posing open-ended questions that require more than a simple yes or no answer. This will make your class interactive and help to foster dialogue about the course material. It also creates a more collaborative learning environment, giving students the opportunity to learn from one another.

To encourage students to participate in the discussion, hand out candy or other small rewards. Alternatively, you can give out participation points during the class, and then use a CPR mask or first aid kit as the prize. Get creative, so students feel more comfortable opening up during your CPR classes.

4. Use visual aids

Visual aids are powerful tools that can create a more dynamic and engaging learning environment. For some students, it’s not enough to simply sit down and listen to lectures. They need alternative ways to visually see and interact with training materials beyond just learning the theoretical basics of CPR.

Use visual aids to help guide each CPR training course. This includes using HSI videos and PowerPoint presentations to streamline learning. Additionally, consider using other visual aids such as:

Supplies can be passed around so students can feel and explore them throughout class.

5. Connect training to personal experiences

Do you have a personal save story you’re willing to share? Did your coworker or neighbor save a life thanks to CPR? What about that story you heard on the news last week?

Relate CPR training to real-life situations by discussing instances where CPR was successfully administered. If you don’t have a personal experience to share, you can find current save stories on our social media channels.

This will make training more relatable and memorable, creating a deeper understanding and appreciation for the importance of CPR.

6. Use realistic training scenarios

Keep your CPR students engaged by incorporating realistic scenarios that simulate an emergency situation they might encounter in their workplace or at home.

Do your students have children? They might realistically encounter common medical emergencies with young children, such as choking or drowning. Use this knowledge to craft a training scenario that will make it more meaningful and resonant with your students on a deeper level.

7. Provide plenty of hands-on practice

Active physical involvement is essential to the CPR learning process. Hands-on skills sessions allow students to practice CPR skills, including giving chest compressions and rescue breaths for adults, children, and infants.

Students can work individually or in small group settings to practice high-quality CPR. Additionally, they can practice using an automated external defibrillator (AED) and first aid skills, such as bandaging.

If a student is struggling, allow them to practice during breaks. If accommodation is needed for a disability or other limitation, work with the student to identify the best way to adapt training as needed.

8. Learn the course material

If you’re just reading out of the Instructor Guide and playing videos, your students will quickly lose interest. Take time to learn the course material so you can answer student questions and provide clarification of complex topics when necessary, such as when teaching a Basic Life Support (BLS) course for healthcare providers.

Great instructors are always looking for ways to improve and keep CPR students engaged. Be sure to:

Not every class will need the same type of CPR Instructor, so you might need to embrace different teaching methods and styles to better serve your students.

9. Get your students moving

CPR, AED and First Aid training teaches critical lifesaving skills. Depending on the course, class time can vary from a few hours to a full day of learning. That’s a long time to stay focused, especially if students are only attending as a workplace requirement. Recognize this barrier and give students frequent breaks to recharge their minds and body.

Ask your class to do jumping jacks with you or get up and move around the room for a couple minutes. It may sound silly, but moving around can be a great way to wake people up and get their blood pumping. Plus, we learn the most when we’re pushed out of our comfort zones a bit.

10. Be present and be yourself

If you’re distracted or seem indifferent to your students, how can you expect them to care about learning? Find a way to relax and feel comfortable while you are at the front of the class. There’s no perfect way to teach a class, so find what works for you. If you’re enthusiastic and engaged, your students will be as well.

Increase learning and retention with HSI training programs

HSI programs are designed to provide CPR Instructors with the necessary flexibility, format, tools, activities, and materials to teach students with varying needs, knowledge, skills, and experience.

This flexibility extends to class format, allowing you to offer traditional in-person classes, blended training, or 100% online courses via the HSI Remote Skills Verification (RSV) platform.

Learn more about how you can use HSI programs to build your business.

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