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Brief Research Report ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Genet. | doi: 10.3389/fgene.2019.01094

Genomic Education at Scale: The Benefits of Massive Open Online Courses for the Healthcare Workforce

 Michelle Bishop1*,  Edward Miller1, Amelia McPherson1,  Siobhan Simpson1, Stuart Sutherland1 and  Anneke Seller1
  • 1Health Education England, United Kingdom

To support the delivery of the UK’s 100,000 Genomes Project, Health Education England’s Genomics Education Programme developed a suite of resources, including a three-week Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on whole genome sequencing via the FutureLearn platform. This MOOC is a synchronous learning event, with course educators and mentors (NHS healthcare science trainees in genomics) facilitating the experience in real time. Crucially, the platform allows participants to interact and learn from each other’s experiences. The evaluation of the course was considered from the learners’ and mentors’ perspectives. Perceptions of course relevance were examined through analysis of learner comments made throughout the course and responses to an end of course survey. Evaluation of mentors’ experiences focused on how prepared they felt to undertake their role and the value and benefit of their experience. Data was collected through a mixed methods study after the first two runs of the course. Over six iterations, the course had registered over 19,000 learners, including a range of healthcare professionals. The course met learners’ needs by providing a greater understanding of whole genome sequencing and the application of this technology in health care. Learners also highly valued the engagement with mentors. Mentors appreciated the experience and identified areas of professional development gained through the mentoring experience. Our findings show that a team of specialist healthcare course mentors engaging with a range of different healthcare professional MOOC learners in online conversation can enhance the learners’ experiences and provide a beneficial continuing professional development opportunity for mentors.

Keywords: Education - active learning, Workforce development and training, Genomic Medicine, Evaluation, MOOC (massive open online course), multi-disciplinary education, Online Learning

Received: 03 Jul 2019; Accepted: 11 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Bishop, Miller, McPherson, Simpson, Sutherland and Seller. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Michelle Bishop, Health Education England, Leeds, United Kingdom,