Extending the reach of local healthcare initiatives with Massive Open Online Courses

Louise Blakemore

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter


Recent studies indicate that massive open online courses have had limited success in reducing inequalities in access to education. Interestingly, there are exceptions to these findings in the field of healthcare education. This may be due in part to this sector’s established expertise in developing short courses for continuing professional development (CPD) and the requirements for healthcare professionals to complete CPD training.

This paper highlights examples where pre-existing healthcare education initiatives have succeeded in increasing access to their programmes by developing massive open online courses and argues that the success of these courses relies on well-established local educational practices. By tailoring courses to address local and national healthcare priorities such as raising the awareness of antibiotic resistant nosocomial infections, or breast cancer prevention strategies, these courses address healthcare challenges that are of direct relevance to prospective students in the region.

These massive open online courses have piloted innovative content developed using local expertise in established learning practices such as inter-professional education, games-based learning and clinical simulations. The examples in this paper have been largely unaccounted for in the current debate surrounding the potential for massive open online courses to remove improve access to education. A unifying theme across the MOOCs discussed in this paper is that they were developed in partnership with pre-existing local healthcare educational initiatives.
Original languageEnglish
Article number799
JournalEuropean Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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