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How to make an effective eLearning module I want to make a module that will be an effective learning resource. But … Where do I start? How can eLearning make the content more interesting? How will the learner track their progress – so that they will be confident that they have achieved something?If you would like help with these questions, this module is for you!
Background -1eLearning modules aim to fill several gaps:Provide health-care students and front-line Take advantage of digital technologyhealth workers in resource poor countries and copyright-free content to:with learning resources that will be effectivein improving health outcomes • develop short learning modules that actively engage the learnerInvolve health staff in resource-poor • include formative assessment so thatcountries in making “home-grown” learning the learner can track their progressresources so that • the resources are directly familiar to • use simple, widely available software “real-life”, day-to-day health care in their so that others can adapt the materials own setting for teaching other target groups • they build their expertise in developing effective resources for adult learnersThe modules are usually designed to be studied mainly by a single learnersitting at a computer screen. However, they can be used to generate discussiontopics or exercises that can be suitable for groups of learners.
Background -2This module describes some basic principles and approaches that may help you todevelop a learning resource that is effective for adult learners.It complements the module by Jess Griffiths that covers the technical “How to do it”issues using MS PowerPoint.But beware! This module is for guidance only. There are many different ways to teach –and you should feel free to develop your own style and innovative methods for eLearning! Remember that the overall aim is to build the confidence of your learner to deliver health care more effectively. The learner should enjoy your module and feel that they have achieved something valuable by completing it. Therefore, make sure that the learning outcomes are appropriate for your learner and that the module allows them to achieve new knowledge and skills with confidence.
Learning outcomesBy the end of this module and the accompanying module by Jess Griffiths, you should be able to:• Write concise learning outcomes (LOs) that state clearly what the learner should be able to do after completing your module• Present content in an interesting way that will engage the learner• Design an assessment that will allow the learner to assess what new knowledge and skills they have acquired
Before you start• Have a clear idea of who your learner is. What knowledge and skills do they have already? How should your module be designed to be most appropriate for their learning needs?• Always keep in your mind’s eye a mental image of your learner sitting at the computer studying your module.• Of course, we all learn from multiple sources (textbooks, websites, conversations with experienced colleagues and, most importantly, from patients themselves). You should encourage your learner to seek-out other information to complement your module. However, the module must be self-contained and contain all that the learner needs to meet its specific learning objectives.
Title slide• The title should state clearly what your module is about.• This first slide is the advertisement for your module. It is your best chance to capture your learner’s attention and make them want to study the module.• So make it as attractive and informative as possible!
Learning outcomes (LOs): start here!This is the most difficult bit! Although you may have a clear idea of whatyour module aims to achieve, writing down clear LOs needs carefulthought and is the essential first step in module development.Do not start to develop your moduleuntil you have identified a few (usually3-4) clear LOs – and perhaps agreedthem with your supervisorThe LOs are vital because they• determine precisely the content ofthe module• determine precisely the assessmentOnce you are happy with your LOs –stick to them and do not allow themodule to wander into other areas
What are good LOs?• Good LOs should clearly state what the learner should be able to do by completing the module• They should be “active” - so that the learner will be able to assess for themselves whether or not they have achieved the LOs• But how do you write a good LO?
Are these LOs good or bad? A module aims to improve knowledge of the diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB). Decide whether each of the following LOs is good or bad. Then click on the square to see our assessment.At the end of this module, you should:a. Know about the diagnosis of TB ab. Understand how TB is diagnosed bc. Be able to describe the methods used to diagnose TB cd. Be able to describe how CXR and sputum examination are used in the d diagnosis of TB
LOs – a few tips Try rewording the LOs a few Tempt the learner to different ways to get the continue with the module. balance right between Say enough to interest sufficient detail but not too them, but keep the best long-winded bits for the content!It is often useful to includenumbers in LOs; for Use “active” wordsexample “describe the 3 such as “discuss” andmajor ways that…” “explain”
Content• The content is the information that you want the learner to acquire.• Clearly, this information has to be accurate and up-to-date.• The content should also be clearly referenced so that the learner is able to check the source of the information.• Start by identifying a small number of reliable and up-to-date sources of information. It is often useful to use a recent review as the main source of your content.
CopyrightAlways a controversial area!There is no problem with reproducing other Your own simple images thatpeople’s material as long as you reference its directly show what you are tryingsource to teach are usually much better. You can make these by usingThe main problem comes with the simple autoshapes andreproducing images (figures, drawing tools available in MSphotographs etc.) PowerPoint or draw them onAlthough it is tempting to “cut and paper and scan the image.paste” highly polished images from Simple scanned line diagramsbooks or the internet into your can be coloured easily using MSmodule, these are usually not quite PaintBox to get very professionalright for the point you want to make results!or are too complicated. Although “apicture is worth a thousand words”, If there are existing images that arecomplex diagrams without adequate exactly right for your purpose, then youexplanation are just confusing. must get permission from the author or publisher to use it in your module. Click here for an example request to use an image for your module
Clinical imagesCarefully-selected, high- Wherever possible, avoid images that allow thequality images that person to be identified. For example, if you want to demonstrate pallor by showing the palm of thedemonstrate key clinical hand, then just show the palm rather than thesigns greatly improve the whole person.effectiveness of learningresources. We consider that it isDigital photography has only acceptable tomade obtaining clinical show clinical images ifimages much easier. the patient or their parents or carers haveTaking clinical images that are given you permissioneffective for teaching is not to use the image foreasy - but we all improve with teaching purposes.practice!Click here for an example of aconsent form for medical Click here for an example of a statement tophotography. use in your module regarding permission to use clinical images.
How to make content interestingThere are many ways of presenting information in an interesting way. The keyis to actively involve the learner – rather than just “spoon feed” information. The following slides give 3 suggestions as to how to present information in a way that engages the Remember that the learner. information is probably already available in a An example about the fluid management of book or on a website. severe dehydration in severe acute malnutrition is Your module needs to used to illustrate each approach. Incorrect go beyond just presenting information. management is common and may result in the It needs to be an active death of the child. This example aims to change learning tool. practice by increasing understanding of the underlying principles.The LO for this example is: “Be able to discuss thepathophysiological principles that underlie the fluid managementof severe dehydration in severe acute malnutrition”
Engaging the learner - 1 This approach is best First, present the information just as when the learner has it might appear in a book or on a little or no existing website. Remember to include good knowledge of the topic. images to make the information as engaging as possible!Click here for anexample of this “Show and test” approach Then, re-enforce the learning by repetition by Use the answers as an engage the learner in some opportunity to further re- interactive formative enforce and extend the assessment learning
Engaging the learner - 2 This approach is Ask them to provide some appropriate if the information “from scratch” learner already has and then compare theirsome knowledge of the answers with the correct topic and you aim to answers build on this existing knowledge “Have a go” Set the level of difficulty so Click here to see the that the learner performs same severe dehydration fairly well (gets about 60% in SAM example right). He/she is then encouraged to learn more presented in this way (up to 100% correct) and continue with the module.
Engaging the learner - 3This is a higher level of You present a “real life”learning which requires scenario which mimics asthe learner to apply their closely as possible theexisting knowledge to learner’s day-to-day worksolve a problem You present a problem and Click here to see thesame severe dehydration “Making it real” then ask the learner to work through to a solution in SAM example presented in this way This prompts the learner to think about the This also provides an opportunity to information carefully and promote good clinical practice (e.g. work-out for themselves multidisciplinary team working, the important “take-home” clinical audit) messages
Engaging the learner - summaryThese are only a few suggestions and there are many different approaches. Doinvent your own methods for presenting information in an engaging way!A few general comments on presenting information: Do not use too many Think carefully about the different methods within a single module. To avoid likely learning style of confusing the learner, allow your learners and also them to become familiar with how best this particular just 2-3 different methods in information might be your module. presented. Remember that the aim Although effective, “active” learning is quite of the module is for the tiring. Including some learner to achieve the “spoonfeeding” of learning outcomes – not information as well as to demonstrate your one or two more skills as a teacher! demanding methods is often best.
Assessment - 1• In most cases, the assessment for the module should be “formative”. This is purely for the learner’s benefit – so that he or she can track their own progress.*• The assessment should be limited to the LOs. The purpose is to allow the learner to confirm that they have achieved the LOs.• The learner should perform well in your assessment. This confirms that your module has been effective!* “Summative” assessment is for formal examination purposes and will not be covered here
Assessment - 2You have already met some These simple formats can be usedexamples of formative just to test recall of facts. At a moreassessment in this module. advanced level, your questions can test the learner’s understanding ofThe accompanying module by the information.Jess Griffiths provides you witha simple template for writing“pick the best of 5 options”questions. This can easily be Two simple techniques to make these simple formats more effectiveadapted to “true or false” or • provide the leaner withother simple formats. explanations when they select the wrong answer • take advantage of a correct Now use Jess selection by providing some Griffiths’ module additional information “International Health Template Module”
Beyond individual learning• Although eLearning modules are usually designed for study by an individual sitting at a computer, most topics demand the extension of the learning to group activities.• In our example regarding the management of severe dehydration in SAM, it is likely that many of the staff working in a health centre would benefit from the module – and not just the person who has managed to get time on the computer.• Try to think of ways that the key messages acquired by the individual learner might be passed-on to their peers. Provide the person who has completed your module with some help in spreading the word.• Examples might be – providing a case scenario for discussion at a team meeting – including a simple questionnaire that captures information about current knowledge and practice and identifies gaps – including a simple management protocol that could be adapted and then printed-out and posted in the ward or treatment room
Some final remarks• Please remember that there are no right answers to eLearning. You should look at as many other examples as you can, experiment and develop your own approaches.• The key to success is to have a clear idea of the needs of your target audience, carefully designed and clearly stated LOs and then an engaging module that allows the learner to achieve the LOs with confidence.• Finally, we hope that you have found this module useful and enjoy developing your own eLearning module. We would be very grateful for any comments, corrections or suggested additions to this module. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org• And, most important of all, good luck!