Clinical Supervision with Confidence: The role of interprofessional and social learning in a FutureLearn Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Background, context and evidence base for the innovation, including, wherever possible, its international relevance: In the UK, GMC guidance requires all postgraduate medical trainees to have named, accredited clinical supervisors in every placement from July 2016 (GMC, 2012). Given the time pressures, difficulties of geographical access, and the national drive for professional standards for clinical educators, there is a need to identify appropriate solutions for faculty development. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have made online learning on various topics accessible to learners worldwide with several MOOCs suitable for postgraduate medical training offered by USA-based platforms eg. Coursera and EdX (Subhi et al, 2014). To the best of our knowledge, MOOCs have not been previously trialled for faculty development of clinical supervisors in Europe or elsewhere.

Aim/focus of the innovation: To offer faculty development for clinical supervisors using a MOOC format and explore the role of interprofessional and social learning among healthcare professionals engaging with the MOOC.

Implementation of the innovation: We developed a two-week MOOC to provide technology enhanced learning to clinical supervisors (Rodrigues, 2015). The course was conceived, developed and facilitated by a group of experienced medical educators from various specialties, including a postgraduate trainee. ‘Clinical Supervision with Confidence’, our two week MOOC, addresses the professional standards framework developed by the Academy of Medical Educators, UK (AoME, 2010). The content works through the rationale for clinical supervision and focusses on two areas that supervisors often find challenging: ‘Giving and receiving feedback’, and ‘Managing trainees in difficulty’. We used the FutureLearn platform for course delivery as it promotes social learning through opportunities for conversations and at each step (FutureLearn, 2014).

Methods used to assess the innovation: Between January and December 2015, we had three runs of the course. Data were obtained from pre- and post-course surveys for each run of the MOOC (March, July and November 2015), FutureLearn course statistics, and thematic analysis of learner comments.

Key findings: Over the year, we had 7,225 course registrants though 6% of these left the course without starting. A total of 3,055 learners began the course and of these, 35% (1073/3055) were social learners who interacted with other participants. Of those who began the course, around 31% (960/3055) participated fully. This significantly higher than the FutureLearn average of 22% (Nelson, 2014). Responses to pre- and post-course surveys suggest that 68% of the learners worked full-time, with over 75% accessing the course at home or while commuting, using laptops, smart phones and tablet devices.
Learners found the bite sized videos, animations and steps manageable at the end of a busy working day. Learner comments suggest that interprofessional discussions and social learning made the learning environment more engaging despite having several hundred international participants on the course during each run. The discussions were rated by learners as high quality and led to sharing of personal experiences, reflections, and resources relevant to the discussions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventNetworking for Education in Healthcare: NET 2016 - Cambridge, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Sep 20167 Sep 2016


ConferenceNetworking for Education in Healthcare: NET 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

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