Lessons learned developing a massive open online course in implementation research in infectious diseases of poverty in low-and middle-income countries

Pascale Allotey, Daniel Reidpath, Edith Certain, Mahnaz Vahedi, Dermot Maher, Pascal Launois, Bella Ross


This study uses a case study approach to examine the development of a massive open online course (MOOC) on intervention and implementation research in infectious diseases of poverty for learners in low- and middleincome countries (LMICs). Implementation research (IR) seeks to understand and address barriers to effective implementation of health interventions, strategies, and policies. In recent years, IR has attracted increased interest, and corresponding demand for training, however, current training opportunities are not easily accessible to learners in LMICs. In 2017, the MOOC was introduced to a diverse range of learners to enhance access to training materials and has been offered yearly since. Findings are based on the experiences of the MOOC working group which included developers and facilitators, and on interpretations of data such as forum discussion activity and Facebook posts. The use of material from local contexts and in local languages, and professional facilitation of discussion forums was identified by the working group to be key considerations in developing the MOOC. Other findings include the importance of using clear instructions and preparing discussion questions to stimulate learner engagement. These findings add to the limited knowledge of MOOCs developed for LMICs and are of value to others developing professional development MOOCs in LMIC health contexts.


MOOC; online learning; learning design challenges; professional development; learners from low- and middle-income countries; implementation research

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.13.1.1172


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