Exploring Learning Experiences and Outcomes among Cardiologists Participating in a Web Conference Workshop Series

Title: Exploring Learning Experiences and Outcomes among Cardiologists Participating in a Web Conference Workshop Series
Authors: Pullen, Carolyn
Date: 2012
Abstract: Opportunities for supporting physician continuing professional development (CPD) may exist through careful instructional design and creative use of information and communication technology. The overarching goal of this study was to explore the learning experiences and outcomes of cardiologists participating in a web conference (“webinar”) series to understand the factors that can support webinars in being an appealing and satisfying CPD medium for these learners. Acknowledging that a pedagogically-based framework for program design is a cornerstone of effective CPD (Hutchinson & Estabrooks, 2009; Inan & Lowther, 2007; Casimiro, MacDonald, Thompson, & Stodel, 2009), this study used the W(e)Learn Framework (MacDonald, Stodel, Thompson, & Casimiro, 2009) as a process guide and quality standard for program design, development and delivery. Cardiologists voluntarily participated in an educational webinar series in which they shared their observations and experiences. Informed by the results of a systematic review of physician eLearning design preferences, this dissertation serves as a mechanism to learn about how webinars can be implemented to support learning and practice change within a population of highly specialized physician learners. Methodological approaches included a systematic review of literature examining physician preferences for eLearning design, a case study of webinar implementation, and interviews with cardiologists who participated in the webinars. The findings of the systematic review, the case study and the interviews aligned to characterize key considerations in webinar implementation. Webinar designers must carefully determine program structures, content, and media to create a satisfying learning experience. Cardiologists seek a webinar experience that responds to their professional reality of competing priorities, complex patients, and ambiguous clinical questions. They seek a mix of evidence-based, authentic and challenging content, delivered by credible content experts. The study found that purposefully designed webinars can be a satisfying learning experience for cardiologists with the potential to influence changes in knowledge and practice. The use of an instructional design framework may structure and enrich webinar implementation; this dissertation encourages their use.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/23492
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