Massive open online courses (MOOCs) for continuing medical education - why and how?

Adv Med Educ Pract. 2019 Sep 11;10:805-812. doi: 10.2147/AMEP.S219104. eCollection 2019.

Abstract

Continuing medical education (CME) is meant to not only improve clinicians' knowledge and skills but also lead to better patient care processes and outcomes. The delivery of CME should be able to encourage the health providers to accept new evidence-based practices, and discard or discontinue less effective care. However, continuing use of expensive yet least effective and inappropriate tools and techniques predominates for CME delivery. Hence, the evidence shows a disconnect between evidence-based recommendations and real-world practice - borne out by less than optimal patient outcomes or treatment targets not being met especially in low- to middle-income countries. There is an ethical and professional obligation on CME-providers and decision-makers to safeguard that CME interventions are appraised not only for their quality and effectiveness but also for cost-effectiveness. The process of learning needs to be engaging, convenient, user-friendly and of minimal cost, especially where it is most needed. Today's technology permits these characteristics to be integrated, along with further enhancement of the engagement process. We review the literature on the mechanics of CME learning that utilizes today's technology tools and propose a framework for more engaging, efficient and cost-effective approach that implements massive open online courses for CME, adapted for the twenty-first century.

Keywords: continuing medical education; health care; learning management system; massive open online courses; non-communicable diseases.