Real-world evidence for postgraduate students and professionals in healthcare: protocol for the design of a blended massive open online course

BMJ Open. 2018 Oct 4;8(9):e025196. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-025196.


Introduction: There is an increased need for improving data science skills of healthcare professionals. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) provide the opportunity to train professionals in a sustainable and cost-effective way. We present a protocol for the design and development of a blended MOOC on real-world evidence (RWE) aimed at improving RWE data science skills. The primary objective is to provide the opportunity to understand the fundamentals of RWE data science and to implement methods for analysing RWD. The blended format of MOOC will combine the expertise of healthcare professionals joining the course online with the on-campus students. We expect learners to take skills taught in MOOC and use them to seek new employment or to explore entpreneurship activities in these domains.

Methods and analysis: The proposed MOOC will be developed through a blended format using the Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation instructional design model and following the connectivist-heutagogical learning theories (as a hybrid MOOC). The target learners will include postgraduate students and professionals working in the health-related roles with interest in data science. An evaluation of MOOC will be performed to assess MOOCs success in meeting its intended outcomes and to improve future iterations of the course.

Ethics and dissemination: The education course design protocol was approved by EIT Health (grant 18654) as part of the EIT Health CAMPUS Deferred Call for Innovative Education 2018. Results will be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Keywords: data science; massive open online course; real world data; real world evidence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Education, Distance / methods*
  • Education, Professional / methods*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Program Evaluation
  • Research Design