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Evaluating PLATO: postgraduate teaching and learning online

Brown, M. and Bullock, Alison Deborah 2014. Evaluating PLATO: postgraduate teaching and learning online. The Clinical Teacher 11 (1) , pp. 10-14. 10.1111/tct.12052

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Abstract

Background:  The use of the Internet as a teaching medium has increased rapidly over the last decade. PLATO (postgraduate learning and teaching online) was launched in 2008 by the e-learning unit (ELU) of Wales Deanery. Located within Learning@NHSWales, a Moodle virtual learning environment (VLE), it hosts a wide range of freely available courses and resources tailored to support the education, training and continuing professional development (CPD) needs of health care professionals working across the National Health Service (NHS) Wales. The evaluation aimed to identify the costs and benefits of PLATO, report its value as attributed by users, identify potential cost savings and make recommendations. Methods:  Five courses (case studies) were selected, representing the range of available e-learning resources: e-induction; fetal heart monitoring; cervical screening; GP prospective trainers; and tools for trainers. Mixed methods were used: one-to-one qualitative interviews, focus group discussions and surveys explored user views, and identified individual and organisational value. Results:  Qualitative findings identified six key areas of value for users: ELU support and guidance; avoidance of duplication and standardisation; central reference; local control; flexibility for learners; and specific features. Survey results (n = 72) indicated 72 per cent of consultants reported that PLATO was easy to access and user friendly. E-learning was rated as ‘very/important’ for CPD by 79 per cent of respondents. Key challenges were: access, navigation, user concerns, awareness and support. Discussion:  PLATO supports education and helps deliver UK General Medical Council standards. Future plans should address the suggested recommendations to realise cost savings for NHS Wales and the Wales Deanery. The findings have wider applicability to others developing or using VLEs.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff Unit for Research and Evaluation in Medical and Dental Education (CUREMeDE)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISSN: 1743-498X
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2019 14:29
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/56621

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