A test of the first course (Emergency Medicine) that is globally available for credit and for free

Healthc (Amst). 2016 Dec;4(4):317-320. doi: 10.1016/j.hjdsi.2016.02.003. Epub 2016 Sep 20.


Background: The WHO has called for the use of computer-aided education to train millions of additional health providers. We herein address this appeal with the first globally available, free, accredited, computer-aided, and peer and mentor-guided course.

Methods: The intervention studied was NextGenU.org's first course, "Emergency Medicine (EM) for Senior Medical Students", required for the graduating Classes of 2013 at the University of Missouri (UM) and the U.S. Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). Control groups were the Class of 2012 at USUHS, and students nationally in the Class of 2013.

Results: As of July 2016, there were over 4,000 registered "NextGenUsers" in 145 countries. USUHS NextGenUsers (n=167) averaged 80.3% vs. USUHS control students' 80.9% (n=163, p=0.4) on the Society of Academic EM (SAEM) exam, vs. 71.4% nationally (n=415, p<0·0001). UM NextGenUsers (n=35) averaged 71.2% on the SAEM exam vs. 71.4% nationally (n=415, p=0.8). Both EM Clerkship Directors reported good student satisfaction with these asynchronous, competency-based, site-agnostic readings.

Conclusions: This novel model of a free, accredited course is becoming widely used, and has performed as well as some of the world's most-resourced courses.

Keywords: Health sciences education; Innovation; MOOCs; Medical education; Online; Public health education.

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Emergency Medicine / education*
  • Humans
  • Online Systems
  • Pilot Projects
  • Students, Medical