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Remote Learning in EMS: Video Conferencing + Breakout Rooms

Posted by Public Safety Group on 4/2/21 4:24 PM

Flipped eBook #1

In this series, we’ll share some practical tools, creative solutions, and best practices for bringing the Flipped Classroom model to life for students in a remote learning environment. In Part One, we'll explore video conferencing and the role of virtual breakout rooms.

While there is no comparable replacement for in person learning, the PSG Flipped Classroom model is both feasible and effective when appropriately adapted to meet distance learning circumstances. On the one hand, half the effort it takes to flip your classroom, specifically the independent study portion, is immediately covered by Flipped Classroom’s tools and resources. On the other hand, half of the curriculum is predicated on practical learning and application of knowledge, which demands more creative thinking and planning when opportunities for in-person activities are relatively limited.


Leveraging web conferencing platforms is fundamental in any remote learning approach.

Your institution should already have a platform it uses. If not, encourage them to do some research on their options so that they can ensure they use the one that best fits both your needs and your students’ needs.

Here are just some of the options available:

  • Zoom
  • GoToTraining
  • Google Meet
  • WebEx
  • Microsoft Teams

Certain web conferencing platforms offer breakout rooms, which allows you to divide up groups of students into “virtual conference rooms” to discuss class items and perform activities with their peers. The breakout function allows you to select and send students to their assigned rooms, drop in to observe, and return the groups back to the main forum when ready.

Running team-based activities in which students are required to partner or group with other students to complete work before demonstrating or reporting back to the larger group is a great use of breakout rooms.

Examples include:

  • Timed challenges in which breakouts can be set on a timer that moves attendees back into the main meeting automatically.

  • Group drawing – Breakout rooms can have a team lead who screenshares the whiteboard tool, and the attendees in the breakout can work together to annotate as a team.

  • Group labeling – Team lead can screenshare an image or document and then turn on the annotation tool. Participants can take turns labelling bones, organs, and more on the shared screen.

  • Creating discussion groups where you send students to work in groups for ~5 minutes on a class topic or activity before reconvening with the larger group to demonstrate and/or report back. This helps drive participation by ensuring each student is contributing to the discussion in their breakouts as opposed to “hiding” behind others in the meeting with the rest of the class.

  • Helping students get to know each other through icebreakers. Some classes are big, and it can be hard for students to get to know their classmates over a video conference call with 20+ people. By having regular breakout room discussions with smaller groups, students get to know the others in their small group, which can drive more comfortable conversation around class material.



Many instructors are dubious as to how a Flipped Classroom can be taught using remote learning, but many of your peers are making it work now, and they’re making it work well! While it might not completely match the experience of 100% in-person, the Flipped Classroom model can be effective when teaching remotely with the right combination of tools and best practices.

If you’re already using Flipped Classroom, contact your Public Safety Group Account Manager to discover how some of the activities in Flipped Classroom can be adapted for a remote learning environment. If you’re not using Flipped Classroom, but want to learn more about it, you can either contact your PSG representative or request a demo for either EMT or Paramedic Flipped Classroom.

Topics: EMS

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