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Online learning

Hi everybody. As you are doing this course, you will already know a bit about the context when online learning is best used. I’m sure you will have your own opinions on what constitutes an ideal learning course. These days busy individuals, health professionals included, are choosing online courses over face-to-face courses to save time and resources. as they can be done in the comfort of their own homes. or their desks. using mobile devices and smartphones. I have always been an early adopter, enjoying experimenting with new technology and documenting what works, what doesn’t and thinking about whether and how I could use it in my own teaching sessions.
A few years ago I had the opportunity to develop a massive open online course on the Futurelearn platform. The end result of this was the two-week MOOC, ‘Clinical Supervision with confidence’ which some of you might have already completed. So let me tell you briefly about how we created the course. I started by consulting professional networks of medical educators worldwide, using Twitter and Facebook to identify key learning needs for clinical supervisors. We focused on two themes
which were unanimously identified: giving feedback, and identifying and managing trainees in difficulty. I signed up to several MOOCs myself on various platforms to get a better idea of what works and what doesn’t, and then working with a team of multidisciplinary health professional educators, including a trainee, we created content using good practice guidelines for eLearning from the published literature but also from our own practical experiences of other online courses. We provided plenty of opportunities for interaction, including end of week assessments to test learning.
Through the course creation, we focused on the needs of a target audience - extremely busy health professionals with a need for continuing professional development to keep up to date with guidance from professional bodies and to enhance their own clinical supervision skills. So over 2015-2016 the course ran seven times in total, with over six thousand learners taking the course. Around 30 percent of learners completed the course. This is a high figure for MOOC completion rates, and learner feedback suggests that the course design and delivery met the learning needs of the target audience and resulted in the high completion rates.
Learner feedback also suggested that the course content and delivery were not only informative, they were also enjoyable and the opportunity to interact with international interprofessional colleagues and to reflect on or to share experiences added a whole new dimension to the course.
So here are a few tips for you to remember if you want to create online courses: It is absolutely essential that you know your target audience thoroughly, and understand their learning needs so that you can focus the content and delivery accordingly. Unlike face-to-face teaching, online courses require most of the resources upfront to create them. So remember that. Develop a good understanding of the various types of technology available and the platform to be used; consider how learner support will be provided, include plenty of opportunities to keep learners engaged and interested, encourage reflection and sharing of experiences to enhance the inter-professional learning, think about including quizzes for self assessment of learning. Above all follow good practice guidance for curriculum development and delivery.
And remember pedagogy before technology.

In this video Professor Rodrigues describes her experience of creating and delivering her Clinical Supervision with Confidence course on the FutureLearn platform.

You can use this opportunity to share your experiences of creating or using online learning. What do you think are the key ingredients to make online learning engaging for learners?

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Clinical Supervision: Teaching and Facilitating Learning

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