The American Heart Association has three course formats, and often there is confusion about which one is “best” for a given student. Below we will lay out the options and our recommendations based on the experiences of our students.
Heartcode (BLS, ACLS, and PALS)
The Heartcode model has the student take the entirety of what is traditionally referred to as “the course” on-line in their own time in their own space.
The Heartcode option is an excellent system for experienced providers. The Heartcode is an adaptive learning system, meaning that the more you get right, the less you have to do. If you can demonstrate cognitive mastery, then the minimum set of videos is presented to you.
CSRE does not recommend the Heartcode model for initial students of ECC disciplines (e.g. ACLS and PALS). The information presented in the Heartcode is excellent, however it is non-interactive and therefore questions a student has cannot be answered “during the course”.
Traditional Instructor Led Training (BLS, ACLS, and PALS)
When you think about an AHA Course, you will instinctively arrive at what is termed now the ‘Traditional Instructor Led Training’. This format of course has the student in-person with the instructor for the full duration of the course.
Initial students with a highly open and flexible schedule would do well with this format. Traditional ACLS and PALS initial courses are two-day-long events, but give the student the highest degree of instructor interaction. Traditional ACLS and PALS renewal courses are approximately 8 and 10 hours long respectively. A Traditional BLS initial course is approximately 3 hours A Traditional BLS renewal course is approximately 2.5 hours.
Experienced providers who need to renew and are proficient with both the cognitive and psychomotor skills of a discipline will find a lot of “down time” in this course format.
Instructor Led Training with Precourse Work
This format is only available for ACLS classes and PALS classes. The precourse work option helps to remove the videos from the in-person time, thereby reducing the time dramatically, while still providing ample amount of time with an instructor to ensure mastery.
Self-motivated students who have a non-traditional schedule or know that they may need to rewatch videos for comprehension.
If you think you “might be able to make time” for the videos, or you aren’t very well disciplined with your own structure, then this format may not be for you. You may instead decide that a Traditional ILT course format would be better.