E-learning for research capacity strengthening in sexual and reproductive health: the experience of the Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research and the Department of Reproductive Health and Research, World Health Organization
Obstetrics and Gynaecology (East Africa)
Abstract: Technological advancement has resulted in the increasing use of e-learning and online education, initially in high-income countries and increasingly in low- and middle-income countries.
Background: In 2010, the Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research, in collaboration with the World Health Organization and partner institutions, developed an online postgraduate course “From Research to Practice: Training Course in Sexual and Reproductive Health Research”. This course takes advantage of the advancing Internet technology to provide training opportunities to health professionals mostly from low- and middle-income countries whose access to quality education is constrained by time, financial resources, or both.
Case presentation: To assess the outcomes of the course, an evaluation was conducted by sending a self-administered questionnaire to graduates of the 2010–2012 programme. The objectives were to determine if the graduates had applied the knowledge gained from the course to their work and whether they had implemented their research project developed during the course. The evaluation also appraised the number of graduates who participated in the design or implementation of a new research project since the course concluded and whether the course had contributed to advancement in their careers. A total of 175 of 219 course graduates answered the questionnaire.
The evaluation revealed that the majority of respondents (98%) had utilized the knowledge acquired, with nearly half of them (47%) having published a scientific paper as author or co-author. About a third of respondents (39%) had implemented their course research project and about three quarters of them (74%) have been involved in the design or implementation of a research project after completing the course. Over three quarters (81%) of respondents opined that the course had contributed to their career advancement and almost half of them (46%) had a career promotion as a direct or indirect benefit of the course.
Conclusion: We surmise that the course positively impacted the participants’ knowledge and understanding of sexual and reproductive health, which they applied in their professional work, as well as strengthened their research capacity. Success factors for the e-learning programme include tailor-made content to meet participants’ needs, flexibility of access, and ongoing engagement/personal interactivity with course coaches.
Human Resources for Health
Festin, M. P.,
(2016). E-learning for research capacity strengthening in sexual and reproductive health: the experience of the Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research and the Department of Reproductive Health and Research, World Health Organization. Human Resources for Health, 14(76), 1-7.
Available at: http://ecommons.aku.edu/eastafrica_fhs_mc_obstet_gynaecol/122