An Analysis of Online Activity and Feedback from a Virtual Postgraduate Medical Training Programme

By Michael Hall, Susan Smith, Marina Cuttini, Gorm Greisen, Neil Marlow, Andreas Schulze, Patrick Truffert and Adolf Valls I Soler.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

An online postgraduate training programme for doctors training to be specialists in neonatology was developed and delivered over one year within a virtual learning environment. Ninety trainee doctors from 14 European countries participated, the majority of whom had expressed a need for increased theoretical knowledge. Fourteen clinicians supported the cross-cultural learning groups as online tutors following specific online training. Analysis of logins and postings showed a wide variation in online activity for both tutors and trainees. The online activity of tutors appeared to influence learner activity. Initially participation was very good but during the year there was a steady decline such that by the end of the programme only 46% of the trainees and 71% of tutors were actively participating. Despite this, a large majority (92%) of the 67 trainees who provided end-of-programme evaluation data reported that participation had “added value” to their training and 84% felt the programme had achieved its aims and objectives. All of the tutors and 90% of trainees would choose to participate again; the main limiting factor for both groups was a lack of time. Our findings suggest that future online programmes should ensure that “protected” time is provided for both trainees and tutors and that there should be formal integration with existing training programmes and accreditation processes.

Keywords: Online Learning, Postgraduate Medical Education, Neonatology, Online Analysis, Evaluation, Online Tutors

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 4, Issue 5, pp.135-142. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 583.357KB).

Dr. Michael Hall

Consultant in Neonatal Paediatrics, Dept of Neonatal Medicine, The Princess Anne Hospital, Southampton University NHS Trust, Southampton, UK

Dr Hall is a medical specialist in the care of newborn babies (neonatology). One of his main research interests is the development and delivery of postgraduate medical education. This interest in online learning has evolved over a number of years and he has been responsible for online postgraduate medical education projects locally, nationally and more recently within Europe.

Susan Smith

Lecturer/Practitioner, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK

Dr. Marina Cuttini

Unit of Epidemiology, Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù, Rome, Italy

Prof. Gorm Greisen

Head of Neonatology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Prof. Neil Marlow

Academic Division of Child Health, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK

Andreas Schulze

Professor, Division of Neonatology, Ludwig-Maximilian-University Munich, Ludwig-Maximilian-University, Munich, Germany

Prof. Patrick Truffert

Service de Médecine Néonatale, Lille, France, Unité INSERM U149, Paris France, Service de Médecine Néonatale, Lyon, Paris, France

Prof. Adolf Valls I Soler

Head of Neonatology, Hospital de Cruces, University of the Basque Country Bilbao, Spain, University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain


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