Developing and piloting an online course on osteoporosis using a multidisciplinary multi-institute approach- A cross-sectional qualitative study

Document Type



Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; Radiology; Educational Development; Medicine; Surgery; Biological and Biomedical Sciences


Introduction: Postgraduate medical trainees (PGs) in developing nations face various educational hurdles due to limited access to quality resources and training facilities. This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of e-learning, particularly Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), within postgraduate medical education. It involved the development of a customized online course focused on osteoporosis for PGs and an examination of their perspectives and preferences concerning online learning methods like Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) platforms.
Methods: The study was conducted from January 2018 to December 2020. A multi-institutional, multidisciplinary team was assembled to design an osteoporosis course on the VLE platform. PGs (n = 9) from diverse disciplines and institutions were selected with informed consent. Focus group discussions (FGDs) among these PGs identified their preferences for the online course, which subsequently guided the development of the MOOC. The modular MOOC comprised recorded micro-lectures, flashcards, videos, case challenges, and expert interviews. The educational impact of the VLE was assessed using pre- and post-module tests among the participants, and their perceptions of the PGs and course facilitators were gathered via an online survey.
Results: The study identified the involvement of PGs in the course design process as beneficial, as it allowed for content customization and boosted their motivation for peer-to-peer learning. During the FGDs, PGs expressed a strong preference for flexible learning formats, particularly short downloadable presentations, and micro-lectures. They also identified challenges related to technology, institutional support, and internet connectivity. In the subsequently customized MOOC course, 66% of PGs (n = 6) attempted the pre-test, achieving a mean score of 43.8%. Following the VLE module, all PGs (n = 9) successfully passed the end-of-module test, averaging a score of 96%, highlighting its impact on learning. The majority (n = 8, 88.9%) agreed that the course content could be applied in clinical practice, and 66.7% (n = 6) expressed extreme satisfaction with the learning objectives and content. Participants favoured end-of-module assessments and the use of best-choice questions for evaluation.
Conclusion: This study highlights the importance of virtual learning, particularly MOOCs, in addressing the educational challenges faced by developing nations. It emphasizes the need for tailored online courses that cater to the preferences and requirements of PGs. The findings suggest that MOOCs can foster collaboration, networking, and opportunities for professional development, and interdisciplinary collaboration among faculty members can be a key strength in course development. This research provides valuable insights for educators, institutions, and e-learning developers seeking to enhance their teaching methodologies and establish accessible educational environments in the digital age.


Pagination is not provided by the author/publisher.

Publication (Name of Journal)

PloS One