This year I received an education fellowship from the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) to visit organisations involved in the delivery of innovative palliative care education. I visited Macmillan, Hospice UK, LOROS hospice and the Royal College of General Practitioners.
Prior to these visits, I had been involved in designing and developing two e-learning programmes ‘Introduction to palliative care’ (Milford Care Centre) and ‘Formal family meetings: a structured approach to communication in palliative care’ (Milford Care Centre and Marymount University Hospital & Hospice) with support from the AIIHPC. These online programmes are available from the AIIHPC Learning Hub and from E-Life, Milford Care Centre’s e-learning platform.
This provided me with the impetus to apply for the education fellowship and learn from other organisations involved in the delivery of online education.
Learning from the visits
During the visits, I gained a greater understanding of the many steps in the e-learning process from content and e-learning/IT specialists as well as different examples of how interactivity could be included in online education.
Technology is continually changing and creating relevant courses which are easily accessible and user-friendly to the target audience is essential. Understanding the difference between delivering e-learning and face-to-face courses is required when developing e-learning programmes. For example, consistency in layout and design across all learning sessions helps with navigation within the courses and it is important that learning activities are not too long – multiple session of around 20-30 minutes are recommended.
Some individuals in the organisations I met spoke about the importance of adding subtitles to videos they produced so that they were accessible to those with hearing difficulties. Another way of improving accessibility of audio materials is to provide a link to the transcript.
Creating online courses can be quite time-consuming and the needs of your specific target audience should be central to its design and development. Therefore engagement with stakeholders is particularly important in developing e-learning courses as well as ensuring that the courses are centred on learning outcomes and applicable to clinical practice.
I would like to thank each organisation and to those I spoke to during the visits.
Joanne’s full report on her fellowship is available to download from the AIIHPC website, where you can also watch a presentation given by Joanne about her learning from the visits she made.