Moving with the times - medical education in the digital age

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Background and Purpose: Within the UK, the General Medical Council (GMC) now requires all medical students and postgraduate trainees to have named, accredited clinical supervisors in every hospital or community placement.1 A framework for the professional development of medical educators adopted by GMC is currently being operationalised by Health Education England.2 Given the time pressures of the busy doctor, difficulties of geographical access, the roll-out of the GMC guidance and the launch of the national revalidation programme for doctors, the time appears ripe to bring postgraduate medical training into the digital age. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have made online learning on a plethora of topics accessible to thousands of learners worldwide who would otherwise be unable to access this learning. There are several MOOCs suitable for postgraduate medical training but these have largely been offered by platforms based in USA eg. Coursera and EdX.3 Faculty development/ postgraduate medical training offered through MOOCs is limited in the UK.
There was a unique opportunity for UEA to launch a two week MOOC in March 2015 on the FutureLearn platform offering free, online clinical supervision training to medical educators, a community that has hitherto relied largely on face-to-face training.4 The aim of this project is to evaluate the first run of the MOOC using data collected during the course.

Methods: The MOOC focuses on two areas that can be challenging to new supervisors – giving feedback, and remediation for trainees needing extra support. Data will be obtained from FutureLearn course analytics, learner participation and feedback, and the course team. Effectiveness of the MOOC will be evaluated using a published framework for evaluation of e-learning in health.5

Results: The course analytics will provide a rich source of quantitative and qualitative data including the geographic reach of the course, the medical education roles of the learners, as well as the motivation for undertaking it. Samples of discussion board content will be used to illustrate specific points made by learners.

Discussion and Conclusion: This work will enable us to evaluate the effectiveness of using MOOCs for faculty development and postgraduate medical education. Effective clinical supervisors need to continually develop, maintain and refresh their supervision skills, and keep in touch with medical education literature and policy developments to maximise patient safety. For the busy medical practitioner, MOOCs provide a potential mechanism to keep up-to-date with developments in clinical education.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventAssociation for the Study of Medical Education (ASME) Annual Scientific Meeting - University of Newcastle, Newcastle, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Jan 2005 → …


ConferenceAssociation for the Study of Medical Education (ASME) Annual Scientific Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period1/01/05 → …

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