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MDS (Minimum Data Set) 3.0 Training: Pre-Recorded Videos Versus Live Stream Sessions

Updated: Jan 25

Is a live instructor leading a live stream MDS class crucial for beginners or is a pre-recorded training or on-demand videos sufficient?

For those who are not aware, live stream events are not recordings: The instructor is live and present in real-time during the MDS training while showing training slides in an online platform. These are scheduled events; therefore, attendees would need to plan ahead.

Pre-recorded training videos (or on-demand videos) are different: These are recordings of a person alongside training slides or recordings of the RAI (Resident Assessment Instrument) manual presented as a course. These can usually viewed anytime for convenience.

First, let us look at the material being used for the training: The RAI manual, a.k.a. the "MDS manual".

  • The manual has definitions discussed in Chapter 2. Additional definitions for the same terminologies are spread out in Chapter 3. More definitions are mentioned in Appendix A. Pre-recorded videos are usually presented Section by Section or Chapter to Chapter; therefore, with that set-up, the recordings will also have the additional definitions also, unfortunately, scattered out throughout the course. A live instructor aware of this dilemma should present a well-compiled collection of definitions.

  • The manual is packed with rules and instructions. Some of the rules have 'exceptions'. But the manual does not state the 'exceptions'. Pre-recorded videos of the RAI manual pages will not have these 'exceptions' because the RAI pages do not include the statement that 'there is an exception'. The learner is left to find out the what the exceptions are, on their own... if they are able to correlate the instructions, hundreds of pages later. Having an instructor would be exceptionally helpful with this issue.

  • Some recordings rely only on screenshots of the whole RAI manual without further explanation of small nuances. For example, a page that summarizes the MDS assessment schedule may have "N/A" as the Assessment Reference Date. The beginner MDS learner is left to decipher "N/A" as not applicable. But in actuality, Assessment Reference Date applies to and is required in every MDS form.

Second, a live stream event has a live instructor available to clarify topics, right then and there. A recording may or may not have a Q&A option. If they do, the response would not be in real-time.

Third, plenty of free MDS training videos are available with Google's help. This is a great advantage as compared to attending paid, live, online presentation. Where would a beginner start? Here are some pros and cons:

Cons: The RAI manual usually gets updated after these videos are released. Watching these videos can cause confusion. Old videos have old instructions that are no longer valid.

Pros: A beginner can watch the videos anytime to have an idea of how MDS assessments are answered. The videos can be useful to experienced MDS nurses who are aware of when an update was released.

There you have it. These are just a few differences explained. In the end, choosing the MDS training format is up to the individual and their ability to learn. Whichever you pick, stay competent!

MDS/RAI Advisor's MDS 3.0 Training is geared for beginners, as well as for experienced MDS-involved staff who need a formal training using a live stream format. The instructor has 18 years of MDS Coordinator experience and, after that, 10 years of teaching MDS. She uses attention-grabbing images to help the learner retain the RAI manual regulations.

For those interested in the MDS 3.0 Training, please visit for specific details.


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