1 School of Science, Monash University Malaysia (MALAYSIA)
2 Jeffery Cheah School of Medicine & Health Sciences, Monash University Malaysia (MALAYSIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 730-741
ISBN: 978-84-616-8412-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain
Science graduates are expected to have competency in different diagnostic skills at their workplace. This, though achievable through Continuing Professional Education (CPE), has limitations due to high dropout rates, professional commitments, high course fees and disengaging instructional design. E-learning could overcome these limitations through its known advantages of time flexibility and independent learning. However, most CPE e-learning modules are knowledge-based and do not develop competency in diagnostic skills.

Blended learning is shown to produce a transformative learning experience through the combination of synchronous and asynchronous communication. Quality of blended learning requires effective use of multimedia resources to be successful. This paper explores design guidelines for developing such e-modules which develop competency amongst biomedical science professionals.

The study aims to explore recommended guidelines for designing an e-learning module and also study various design elements of established e-learning modules in biomedical sciences to develop a short but effective competency based CPE e-learning module.

A literature review of recommended guidelines to produce effective e-learning modules was done to identify effective design components and the recommended durations of each component. These guidelines were compared with established e-learning modules having high credibility, followed by critical evaluation of the differences to produce new guidelines.

Results and Discussion:
Important design elements in e-learning modules include having clear objectives which precede any given task for better goal management. Podcasts, video casts, discussion boards, e-resources, databases, files sharing and graphics, etc. are effective design elements for multimodal e-learning. Online interactive communication was found to be a key element to facilitate e-learning. Though debatable, computer and video games could also be incorporated. Case studies and quizzes with immediate feedback are critical elements. Interactive real life case histories and high definition clinical images facilitate development of competency. Provision for contacting the facilitator for queries/comments/continuous feedback produces an engaging e-learning module. Both automated feedback after each task and an overview of the tasks completed/module progression are effective feedback design elements. Shorter e-learning modules (e.g. an hour long) are more affordable for busy professionals. However, it is challenging to incorporate effective tools to enhance learning in such short modules, especially those having many sub-sections. It is hence important to contextualise and match the most effective learning element to the objective of each sub-section, e.g. designing an online discussion to accompany complex case study.

A new guideline for design of e-learning module was developed. It included various design elements including determination of clear objectives and direction, learning outcomes matched with specific types of multimedia e-learning tools, incorporation of case scenarios/slides and feedback elements. Incorporation of these can be maximized to develop competency in diagnostic skills among biomedical science graduates.
Professional education, competency, e-learning, biomedical science, module design.