Online courses for healthcare professionals: is there a role for social learning?

Veena Rodrigues, Emily Player

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

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Background: All UK postgraduate medical trainees receive supervision from trained supervisors. Training has traditionally been delivered via face to face courses, but with increasing time pressures and complex shift patterns, access to these is difficult. To meet this challenge, we developed a two-week massive open online course (MOOC) for faculty development of clinical supervisors.
Summary of Work: The MOOC was developed by a group of experienced medical educators and delivered via the FutureLearn (FL) platform which promotes social learning through interaction. This facilitates building of communities of practice, learner interaction and collaboration. We explored learner perceptions of the course, in particular the value of social learning in the context of busy healthcare professionals. We analysed responses to pre- and post-course surveys for each run of the MOOC in 2015, FL course statistics, and learner discussion board comments.
Summary of Results: Over 2015, 7,225 learners registered for the course, though 6% left the course without starting. Of the 3,055 learners who began the course, 35% (1073/3055) were social learners who interacted with other participants. Around 31% (960/3055) learners participated fully in the course; this is significantly higher than the FL average of 22%. Survey responses suggest that 68% learners worked full-time, with over 75% accessing the course at home or while commuting, using laptops, smart phones and tablet devices.
Discussion: Learners found the course very accessible due to the bite-sized videos, animations, etc which were manageable at the end of a busy working day. Inter-professional discussions and social learning made the learning environment more engaging. Discussion were rated as high quality as they facilitated sharing of narratives and personal reflections, as well as relevant resources.
Conclusion: Social learning added value to the course by promoting sharing of resources and improved interaction between learners within the online environment.
Take Home Messages: 1) MOOCs can provide faculty development efficiently with a few caveats. 2) Social learning added a new dimension to the online environment.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2016
EventAMEE Annual Conference - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 28 Aug 201631 Aug 2016


ConferenceAMEE Annual Conference

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