“So we brought these players together”: a qualitative study of educators’ experiences to analyze the challenges of creating an e-learning program for neuropalliative care

Julia Bu (First author), Susan DeSanto-Madeya, Mara Lugassy, Jessica Besbris, Sarah Bublitz (Co-author), Neha M. Kramer, Roop Gursahani, Winnie Lau, Estella Kim, John Y. Rhee, Piret Paal (Last author)

Research output: Contribution to journalOriginal Article (Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Background In recent years, the subspecialty of neuropalliative care has emerged with the goal of improving the quality of life of patients suffering from neurological disease, though gaps remain in neuropalliative care education and training. E-learning has been described as a way to deliver interactive and facilitated lower-cost learning to address global gaps in medical care. We describe here the development of a novel, international, hybrid, and asynchronous curriculum with both self-paced modules and class-based lectures on neuropalliative care topics designed for the neurologist interested in palliative care, the palliative care physician interested in caring for neurological patients, and any other physician or advanced care providers interested in neuropalliative care.Methods The course consisted of 12 modules, one per every four weeks, beginning July 2022. Each module is based on a case and relevant topics. Course content was divided into three streams (Neurology Basics, Palliative Care Basics, and Neuropalliative Care Essentials) of which two were optional and one was mandatory, and consisted of classroom sessions, webinars, and an in-person skills session. Evaluation of learners consisted of multiple choice questions and written assignments for each module. Evaluation of the course was based on semi-structured qualitative interviews conducted with both educator and learner, the latter of which will be published separately. Audio files were transcribed and underwent thematic analysis. For the discussion of the results, Khan's e-learning framework was used.Results Ten of the 12 participating educators were interviewed. Of the educators, three identified as mid-career and seven as senior faculty, ranging from six to 33 years of experience. Nine of ten reported an academic affiliation and all reported association with a teaching hospital. Themes identified from the educators' evaluations were: bridging the global gap, getting everybody on board, defining the educational scope, investing extensive hours of voluntary time and resources, benefiting within and beyond the curriculum, understanding the learner's experience, creating a community of shared learning, adapting future teaching and learning strategies, and envisioning long term sustainability.Conclusions The first year of a novel, international, hybrid, and asynchronous neuropalliative care curriculum has been completed, and its educators have described both successes and avenues for improvement. Further research is planned to assess this curriculum from the learner perspective.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC MEDICAL EDUCATION
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2024

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