Can online distance learning improve access to learning in conflict zones? The Oxford Psychiatry in Iraq (OxPIQ) experience

Yasir Hameed, Hasanen Al Taiar, Denis O'Leary, Lucy Kaynge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Psychiatry trainees in Iraq face many challenges that limit their immediate access to training opportunities. These include limited opportunities to attend international conferences due to visa restrictions, reduced access to evidence-based practice and guidelines and less experience in conducting quality improvement projects and audits. There are also issues related to their training programmes, including lack of regular meetings with supervisors and fewer opportunities for case-based discussions. Clinical Psychiatry is thus a potential key affected clinical domain due to the above factors. Technological advances in the field of e-learning created concepts such as Technology-enhanced or Web-based learning (TEL or WBL). These developments enabled the formation of “virtual teams” using an online platform. These teams overcome logistical geographical and other barriers to enable professionals to connect and learn from each other. This paper includes an appraisal of the TEL, looking at its advantages and challenges in meeting the needs of learners and educators. Also, we describe how we incorporated evidence-based and good practice guidelines on TEL use in these circumstances to the design, delivery and early evaluation of the distance learning programme. In our conclusion, we add to these and draw attention to the use of established online platforms (Medicine Africa in this case) and the importance of involving Iraqi Training leads, trainees and institutions in identifying trainee learning needs and supporting existing training provisions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbera1114
JournalBritish Journal of Medical Practitioners
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • Case-based discussion
  • Learning theories
  • Online learning
  • Virtual learning teams

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