Repurposing Online Continuing Professional Development Courses in Health into New Educational Contexts

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF5 Sub-theme: Health // E-learning is being used increasingly to deliver continuing professional development in a wide variety of health disciplines and situations. High quality content is available online, both through established courses and through open educational resources. However, educational content that is successful in one context will often not be effective in another, especially if there are significant cultural differences between the two situations. This project is examining the redesign of online courses that are effective in one context for use in another. // Online courses developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada are being used in this research. The Agency has developed nine online continuing professional development modules covering aspects of public-health practice and over 2,200 public-health professionals have successfully completed at least one module. // In this project, a case study approach is being used to examine two examples of adaptation of several of these modules, one at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, and the other, in the Caribbean under the auspices of the Pan American Health Organization. The first case involves adaptation into a different educational context, but in a similar culture. The second involves similar learners, but in a different culture. The work is being informed by key themes of cultural differences and learning design. The research issues include localisation of content, delivery, authenticity of content, and assessment. // Both organisations studied have persevered in delivery of online courses even though their initial offerings did not fully meet their objectives. The research findings suggest that in repurposing online courses into new environments, the following aspects should be considered: // • Learning objectives of the new educational context; // • Learners’ familiarity and comfort with online technology and modalities; // • Technical issues related to Internet access; // • Cultural norms with respect to participation in social situations online; and, // • Appropriate localisation of material. // Paper ID 414

Caribbean and Americas