Stigma and insufficient training contribute significantly to the substance use disorder pandemic. This 2014 study assessed the impact in Kenya of online competency-based courses on peer and mentor interactions, using NextGenU.org, the world's only portal to free and accredited higher education. A total of 99 health care workers participated in one of two courses. Completers (50% of those who logged in) reported significant increases in knowledge about substance use disorders and decreases in stigma. Most (92%) stated that they preferred the NextGenU.org courses over classroom courses. All respondents were very confident that they gained useful knowledge and skills and would recommend the courses to peers. Learners' improvements in knowledge, skills, and stigma-related attitudes were comparable to those seen in "gold-standard," contact-intensive, and costly educational models. Free, accredited, easily scalable, clinically interactive, Web-based training courses can teach knowledge and skills while reducing stigma, even in low-resource settings.
Keywords: Alcohol use disorder; Continuing education; Drug use disorder; Low- and middle-income countries; Mental illness and alcohol/drug abuse; Online education; Stigma; Tobacco use disorder; Web-based training.