Category: Professional Posters
Purpose: Hospital pre-registration pharmacy training in the UK involves primarily experiential learning complemented by academic study to achieve registration requirements. Time allocated to supportive training programmes is limited. Therefore this cohort of learners is potentially suited to blended learning approaches. Effectiveness of online teaching strategies in pharmacy education has been demonstrated. However, there is a lack of research investigating learners’ perceptions of online learning and the extent to which it could replace face-to-face teaching.
The purpose of this evaluation was to address this paucity of qualitative data and define potential utilisation of online learning as part of a multi-modal training programme.
Methods: Two clinical topics from the registration assessment framework were selected for development into online teaching modules namely: Muskuloskeletal and Genito-urinary medicine. The selection was on the basis that these key therapeutic areas were not included in the current curriculum of the training programme. Trainee pharmacists enrolled on the programme were invited to complete the interactive online teaching modules and online assessments. They were also asked to provide feedback via an online evaluation form. A focus group was conducted to explore learners’ experiences of completing the modules and their views on the role of online teaching as part of their pre-registration training and preparedness for the registration assessment. Data analysis was largely descriptive with thematic analysis for responses to open questions and focus group discussion.
UEA Faculty of Medicine and Health Ethics committee deemed the project to be a service evaluation of a teaching enhancement.
Results: Trainees who completed one or both modules provided positive feedback regarding the online learning experience. Specifically, learners valued the structure that the online modules provided and appreciated the interactive elements of the online modules and the patient-based scenarios. However, trainees described the learning they acquired as ‘baseline’.
Trainee 2: “it’s really structured so it’s quite nice just to go through them”
Trainee 2: “I liked the case studies in the module”
Focus group participants unanimously agreed that online modules could not replace face-to-face teaching but could ‘enhance’ it. Learners suggested that online teaching is best suited for 'niche’ topics with specified content or as preparatory work for face-to-face teaching sessions.
Trainee 1: “I wouldn’t say it would replace it but I think it’s a good way of doing face-to-face teaching so you could do the online module before… and then they do teaching around that”
Trainee 4: “online modules would be quite good for the sort of niche topics that probably don’t need a two hour session at a residential to go through it”
Suggestions for improvement to the modules was restricted to improving the usability of the online learning platform. They also requested an increased quantity of assessment activities.
Conclusion: Online teaching is well received by hospital trainee pharmacists. It was viewed that the online teaching materials must be interactive and patient-centred to engage learners. The learning achieved was described as useful ‘baseline’ learning and not perceived as an acceptable replacement for face-to-face teaching. It could however be a useful tool as preparation for face-to-face teaching sessions and to provide knowledge requirements in specific areas. This study adds to the qualitative evidence on how learners perceive online teaching. Findings will be used to inform the development of future online teaching materials and their place within a multi-modal training programme.