Let’s Take it to the Clouds: The Potential of Educational Innovations, Including Blended Learning, for Capacity Building in Developing Countries

Document Type: Perspective

Authors

1 School of Public Health, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

2 United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), New York City, NY, USA

Abstract

In modern decentralised health systems, district and local managers are increasingly responsible for financing, managing, and delivering healthcare. However, their lack of adequate skills and competencies are a critical barrier to improved performance of health systems. Given the financial and human resource, constraints of relying on traditional face-to-face training to upskill a large and dispersed number of health managers, governments, and donors must look to exploit advances in the education sector. In recent years, education providers around the world have been experimenting with blended learning; that is, amalgamating traditional face-to-face education with web-based learning to reduce costs and enrol larger numbers of students. Access to improved information and communication technology (ICT) has been the major catalyst for such pedagogical innovations. We argue that with many developing countries already improving their ICT systems, the question is not whether but how to employ technology to facilitate the continuous professional development of district and local health managers in decentralised settings.

Keywords

Main Subjects


  1. Langenbrunner J, Somanathan A. Financing Health Care in East Asia and the Pacific: Best Practices and Remaining Challenges. Washington, DC: World Bank; 2011.
  2. Rockers PC, Bärnighausen T. Interventions for hiring, retaining and training district health systems managers in low-and middle-income countries. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013; 3:CD009035. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD009035
  3. Hodge A, Firth S, Marthias T, Jimenez-Soto E. Location matters: trends in inequalities in child mortality in Indonesia. Evidence from repeated cross-sectional surveys. PLoS One. 2014;9(7):e103597. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103597
  4. Bauze AE, Tran LN, Nguyen K-H, et al. Equity and geography: the case of child mortality in Papua New Guinea. PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e37861. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037861
  5. Dettrick Z, Jimenez-Soto E, Hodge A. Socioeconomic and geographical disparities in under-five and neonatal mortality in Uttar Pradesh, India. Matern Child Health J. 2014;18(4):960-969. doi:10.1007/s10995-013-1324-8
  6. The World Bank. Local Solutions for Local Problems. http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2013/07/03/Local-Solutions-for-Local-Problems. Published June 25, 2013.
  7. Ranson MK, Chopra M, Atkins S, Dal Poz MR, Bennett S. Priorities for research into human resources for health in low- and middle-income countries. Bull World Health Organ. 2010;88(6):435-443. doi:10.2471/BLT.09.066290
  8. Joynes C. Distance learning for health: a global review of accredited post-qualification training programmes for health workers in low and middle income countries. http://www.lidc.org.uk/_assets/DL4H_Report_Full_reduced.pdf. Published 2011.
  9. Kim K-J, Frick TW. Changes in student motivation during online learning. Journal of Educational Computing Research. 2011;44(1):1-23.
  10. Kundi M, Nawaz A. From e-Learning 1.0 to e-Learning 2.0: threats & opportunities for higher education institutions in the developing countries. European Journal of Sustainable Development. 2014;3(1):145-160. doi:10.14207/ejsd.2014.v3n1p145
  11. Dolan VL. Massive online obsessive compulsion: what are they saying out there about the latest phenomenon in higher education? The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. 2014;15(2). http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1553/2893.
  12. US Department of Education. Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning. https://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/evidence-based-practices/finalreport.pdf. Accessed 22 June, 2015. Published 2010.
  13. So H-J, Brush TA. Student perceptions of collaborative learning, social presence and satisfaction in a blended learning environment: relationships and critical factors. Comput Educ. 2008;51(1):318-336. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2007.05.009
  14. Maloney S, Haas R, Keating JL, et al. Breakeven, cost benefit, cost effectiveness, and willingness to pay for web-based versus face-to-face education delivery for health professionals. J Med Internet Res. 2012;14(2):e47. doi:10.2196/jmir.2040
  15. Sharma P. Blended learning. ELT Journal. 2010;64(4):456-459. doi:10.1093/elt/ccq043
  16. Reynold S, Fell P. The effect of e-learning on student placement in the community. Prim Health Care. 2011;21(5):28-32. doi:10.7748/phc2011.06.21.5.28.c8549
  17. Macharia J. Internet access is no longer a luxury. http://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/april-2014/internet-access-no-longer-luxury. Published April 2014.
  18. International Telecommunications Union (ITU). ICT Facts & Figures. http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Pages/facts/default.aspx. Accessed 23 June, 2015. Published 2015.
  19. Bhuasiri W, Xaymoungkhoun O, Zo H, Rho JJ, Ciganek AP. Critical success factors for e-learning in developing countries: A comparative analysis between ICT experts and faculty. Comput Educ. 2012;58(2):843-855.
  20. Liu I-F, Chen MC, Sun YS, Wible D, Kuo C-H. Extending the TAM model to explore the factors that affect Intention to Use an Online Learning Community. Comput Educ. 2010;54(2):600-610.
  21. DiPietro M, Ferdig RE, Black EW, Preston M. Best practices in teaching K-12 online: Lessons learned from Michigan Virtual school teachers. Journal of Interactive Online Learning. 2008;7(1):10-35.
  22. Delfino M, Persico D. Online or face‐to‐face? Experimenting with different techniques in teacher training. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. 2007;23(5):351-365.
  23. United Nations. E-Government Survey 2014: E-Government for the Future We Want. http://unpan3.un.org/egovkb/Portals/egovkb/Documents/un/2014-Survey/E-Gov_Complete_Survey-2014.pdf. Published 2014.
  24. Basu S. E‐government and developing countries: an overview. International Review of Law, Computers & Technology. 2004;18(1):109-132.
  25. Alghamdi IA, Goodwin R, Rampersad G. E-government readiness assessment for government organizations in developing countries. Computer and Information Science. 2011;4(3):3-17. doi:10.5539/cis.v4n3p3
  26. Heeks R. eGovernment for Development: Success and Failure in eGovernment Projects. http://www.egov4dev.org/success/sfrates.shtml. Published 2008.