A hemodialysis curriculum for nephrology fellows using a blended learning approach: best of both worlds?

J Nephrol. 2021 Jan 21;1-4. doi: 10.1007/s40620-020-00945-4. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

A comprehensive, hands-on hemodialysis curriculum during nephrology training is necessary for effective learning and optimal patient care. Traditional instructive approaches are unable to fully meet the needs of the digitally inclined learner and are limited by time constraints and increasing clinical workload. Internet based learning (E-learning) is becoming increasingly popular in medical education and nephrology and gaining even greater relevance in the COVID era. However, it presents technical challenges and may create an environment of social isolation. A 'blended learning approach' combines E-learning with traditional methods of teaching and offers advantages over either approach alone. We have designed and implemented a formalized hemodialysis curriculum at our institution that is based on blended learning, utilizing faculty-created E-learning tools combined with traditional pedagogical methods (bed-side and classroom). The web-based tools discuss hemodialysis adequacy, principles of urea transport, hemodialysis access examination and access complications. These tools are open access and structured around the science of cognitive learning using animation, interactivity, self-assessment and immediate feedback features. They have been viewed by a wide audience of nephrologists, dialysis nurses as well as medicine house-staff and have received strong validation in a post-test survey. The online tools have supported a 'flipped classroom' instructive model and our blended curriculum has been successfully used for nephrology fellow training at our institution. Incorporating faculty designed/approved E-learning tools to create a 'blended' nephrology curriculum for trainees at various levels of medical education, can help streamline active and time-efficient learning, with the goal of improving learner engagement, knowledge acquisition and academic curiosity in the field.

Keywords: Blended learning; E-curriculum; E-learning; Education; Hemodialysis; Vascular access.