A long-distance approach may seem beneficial in some instances (for example, those in rural areas, those who have difficulty identifying a local instructor); however, at this time, the hands-on portion of the NRP provider course must still be taught in-person. Technical and behavioral skills are not assessed in an online format, and those are the crux of what is learned and assessed in the face-to-face component of NRP. At the present time, there is no easy way to create truly immersive scenarios in a virtual manner and provide the learner with feedback on their skills (especially behavioral skills).
In general, meetings over Skype or by teleconference tend to be less engaging than those conducted in person – and when there is an element of both teaching and evaluation, the Skype or teleconference format becomes even more difficult. Demonstrating a particular skill, for example, applying the mask to the face for PPV or assessing chest compressions, is much more difficult when the instructor must depend on the camera angle for a good view. Instructor assessment of learner performance is already highly subjective and highly variable and watching the learner perform through a camera tends to compound this problem.
The interaction with the instructor during the Provider course cannot yet be replicated through online/long distance learning. As technology improves and more is learned about the education methodology of distance learning, it is possible that NRP may be offered in this way at some point in the future.