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Open online courses in
health professions
education
A systematic review of the literature
Michael Rowe UWC, South Africa
S...
Background
“Exploitation of the power of IT for learning through
development of evidence, capacity for data collection and...
Background (cont.)
There is currently relatively little research that has been
conducted in the MOOC-domain (Fournier et a...
Study aim
This systematic review set out to:
1. Map the scope of literature related to open online courses
in health profe...
Methods | Search strategy
Searches of electronic database included PubMed, Medline,
Embase, PsychInfo and CINAHL to identi...
Methods | PICO
Participants: medicine, physiotherapy, occupational therapy,
nursing, radiology, speech and language therap...
Methods | Extraction & Analysis
Selection and data extraction: one member of the team;
random accuracy checks by a second,...
Methods | Critical appraisal
We knew that there would be a wide variety of study
methodologies included in the review:
● C...
Results | Overview
31 publications Profession
RCT
Mixed methods
Case study
Descriptive audit
Case report
Literature review...
Results | Effectiveness
3 papers reported on effectiveness
1. No significant difference between groups (knowledge,
satisfa...
Results | Feasibility
2 papers reported on feasibility
1. High ratings of content quality (lectures, quizzes, handouts,
mu...
Results | Economic value
No papers reported on any economic analysis of the course
that was offered. Therefore, there was ...
Results | Outcomes
6 papers described study outcomes
4 of these were the authors’ opinions i.e. not supported with
data in...
Results | Pedagogical framework
3 papers reported on a pedagogical framework (xMOOC)
1. Scalability of provision: many par...
Conclusion
There is a lot of excitement around open online courses in
health professions education, with an increasing num...
Thank you
mrowe@uwc.ac.za
mrowe.co.za/blog
@michael_rowe
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Open Online Courses in Health Professions Education: A systematic review

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I'm working on a systematic review of the literature on Open Online Courses in Health Professions Education, with two colleagues from Monash University. These are the preliminary findings from that review that I presented at the SAAHE conference in 2016.

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Open Online Courses in Health Professions Education: A systematic review

  1. 1. Open online courses in health professions education A systematic review of the literature Michael Rowe UWC, South Africa Stephen Maloney Monash U., Australia Christian Osadnick Monash U., Australia
  2. 2. Background “Exploitation of the power of IT for learning through development of evidence, capacity for data collection and analysis, simulation and testing, distance learning, collaborative connectivity, and management of the increase in knowledge.” Frenk, et al. (2010) “No longer will a limited number of medical schools or faculty constrain our ability to educate medical students. Learning communities will form naturally, and students will need to take ownership of their education” Mehta et al. (2013)
  3. 3. Background (cont.) There is currently relatively little research that has been conducted in the MOOC-domain (Fournier et al. 2014) MOOCs are falling short of “democratising” education & may be doing more to increase gaps in access to education (Hollands & Tirthali, 2014) “Open and networked educational environments must not be merely repositories of content. They must be platforms for engaging students and teachers as full, empowered agents of their own learning.” (Mackness, 2014)
  4. 4. Study aim This systematic review set out to: 1. Map the scope of literature related to open online courses in health professions education; 2. Describe the features of existing open online courses relevant to health professions education; and 3. Examine the effects of open online courses on health professions education.
  5. 5. Methods | Search strategy Searches of electronic database included PubMed, Medline, Embase, PsychInfo and CINAHL to identify publications without any restrictions Inclusions: Undergraduate and postgraduate. Exclusions: Distance education or generic (“traditional”) online courses; Professional education; No exclusions based on study type Grey literature: Google Scholar & hand searching of included studies and reference lists
  6. 6. Methods | PICO Participants: medicine, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, nursing, radiology, speech and language therapy, dietetics, public health, dentistry and psychology Intervention: Any open online course / variants (Massive Open Online Courses; Distributed Online Collaborative Courses; Small Private Online Courses; Open Online Courses) Control: N/A Outcomes: Effectiveness (primary), Feasibility and acceptability, Economic value and Pedagogical framework
  7. 7. Methods | Extraction & Analysis Selection and data extraction: one member of the team; random accuracy checks by a second, independent of knowledge of the first; discrepancies addressed by a third Extraction: standardised electronic template for study characteristics (year and location of publication), study type (methodology), participant characteristics, key outcomes, and quality appraisal Narrative approach to data synthesis, incorporating descriptive statistics to synthesise data on the effects of open online courses on health professions education
  8. 8. Methods | Critical appraisal We knew that there would be a wide variety of study methodologies included in the review: ● Commentaries ● Narrative reviews ● Pre/post designs ● Controlled clinical trials Therefore we did not anticipate comprehensive systematic appraisal of all included studies and as a result, no studies were excluded from the review on the basis of study quality.
  9. 9. Results | Overview 31 publications Profession RCT Mixed methods Case study Descriptive audit Case report Literature review Commentary Editorial Correspondence Point/counterpoint Report 1 3 2 1 1 6 10 3 1 1 1 Combination Medicine Nursing Physiotherapy Dentistry Psychology Pharmacy Public health Dietetics Unspecified 9 7 5 2 2 2 1 1 1 1
  10. 10. Results | Effectiveness 3 papers reported on effectiveness 1. No significant difference between groups (knowledge, satisfaction and perceived confidence) 2. Participant self-report (“93% believed the course had changed their lives”) 3. Participant self-report (distraction while watching videos) “Effectiveness” was not defined in terms of participants actually achieving any learning outcomes
  11. 11. Results | Feasibility 2 papers reported on feasibility 1. High ratings of content quality (lectures, quizzes, handouts, music in video introductions, etc.) 2. Low ratings of technical problems experienced (internet connection, videos not playing, etc.) In these two cases, “feasibility” was therefore defined in terms of content quality and technical problems experienced.
  12. 12. Results | Economic value No papers reported on any economic analysis of the course that was offered. Therefore, there was no reporting on: ● Cost of course development ● Return on investment ● Cost-benefit analysis
  13. 13. Results | Outcomes 6 papers described study outcomes 4 of these were the authors’ opinions i.e. not supported with data in the paper 1. MOOCs are less expensive and more accessible than most traditional classes; 2. Provides an affordable opportunity for low income earners to access “higher education” 1. No financial barriers to participate for students; 2. MOOCs may undermine the existing business model of universities given universities are reliant on tuition revenue
  14. 14. Results | Pedagogical framework 3 papers reported on a pedagogical framework (xMOOC) 1. Scalability of provision: many participants 2. Open access (free) but restricted license: not really open 3. Individual learning in a single platform: not collaborative 4. Emphasis on acquiring knowledge and skills No papers reported any integration of learning theory into course design or data analysis.
  15. 15. Conclusion There is a lot of excitement around open online courses in health professions education, with an increasing number of papers being published in support of open online courses Very few of these papers include studies that are rigorous or well-designed, and the conclusions they reach are often not supported with data Exercise caution when using the current literature in support of decision making around open online courses There is an opportunity for health professions educators to conduct strong research in this area
  16. 16. Thank you mrowe@uwc.ac.za mrowe.co.za/blog @michael_rowe

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