Purpose of the Report
The main purpose of this report is to give an account of the Winston Churchill Fellowship travel that aimed to learn from online learning developments at healthcare education institutions in the USA. It is hoped that the report gives an insight into the technological influences in healthcare professional education. The report may also add to the developing body of knowledge in the field of online learning and healthcare education.
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Who may be interested in reading this report
The report may be beneficial for individuals who are involved in online learning developments in healthcare education in the USA and other countries. The institutions visited during the fellowship may find it useful to read own and others case studies, to compare and reflect on the developments and implications on teaching and learning in healthcare. The report may be useful for other institutions in the USA, to add to the picture of diversity in online learning developments within USA.
Likewise, institutions and policy makers in other countries including the UK may find it useful to take note of a wide range of developments, and the need for further research to influence teaching and learning online in different contexts.
Healthcare and other academics can read the report to review examples of learning strategies used in online courses to make learning more flexible and student centred. They may want to pursue the possibility of developing direct links with academics identified in the report and share future developments.
The case studies of the different institutions provide examples of diverse support strategies provided through additional resource provision, staff support and student involvement in the online content development process. Academics, who are the 'early adopters' of educational technology, may find the case study contents useful for reflection and consideration of their new roles in learning organisations. Academics, who are 'newcomers', may gain from learning about online content development in a team and increasing opportunities for peer review.
Clinicians involved in mentoring and supporting student learning in clinical placements may also gain an insight into online learning development in healthcare education. This may be beneficial in the future when academic institutions begin to involve clinical mentors in online course development and implementation.
Instructional designers reading this report will observe the diverse role expectations of their counterparts in other institutions. Comparisons with own roles may be helpful for this emerging group of professionals to debate their future positions in the field of educational technology.
Librarians may benefit from learning about the emerging collaborations with other libraries, institutions and departments, for online and on-campus students. The discussions in some case studies give examples of the new roles of the library staff in developing online problem based and resource based learning materials.
The report may provide the strategists, funding agents and directors, with examples of the complex resources and support structures required for successful online developments. In the last chapter, the analysis identifies the challenge faced by academics and strategists, who have begun to acknowledge that rather than technology as the main driver, learning should to be the key driver of all educational developments that benefit from technology.
Students and researchers evaluating online learning developments and institutional influences may find it useful to refer to the report, for comparisons with their own research findings.
Students who are interested in learning online may find the Section 2 analysis useful, which discusses student involvement in course development as a potential area of growth.
Individuals outside the formal educational setting, who are interested in future developments in the field of healthcare education and education in general, may also find it useful o refer to this report.
The report obviously provides a
snapshot of online learning developments in a region of one country. It does not claim to have covered all
the issues related to online learning and developments. It may however be useful as one among other resources to point out how online learning
developments are shaping up, in the beginning of the 21st century
Thank you for your kind interest in the report.
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