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E-learning on the road : Online learning and social media for continuous professional competency
journal contributionposted on 30.10.2018, 00:00 by Alan BattAlan Batt, NM Cummins
Background The impact of social media and online learning in health professions education has previously shown generally positive results in medical, nursing and pharmacy students. To date there has not been any extensive research into social media and online learning use by prehospital health care professionals such as paramedics. Aim & Methods We sought to identify the extent to which Irish pre-hospital practitioners make use of online learning and social media for continuous professional competency (CPC), and the means by which they do so. A cross-sectional online survey of practitioners was conducted to obtain both quantitative and qualitative data. The release of the survey was in a controlled manner to PHECC registrants via various channels. Participation was voluntary and anonymous. Results A total of 248 respondents completed the survey in full by closing date of 31 March 2015, representing 5.4% of all registrants (n=4,555). 77% of respondents were male, and the majority were registered as Emergency Medical Technicians (49%), followed by Advanced Paramedics (26%). Over 78% of respondents used a mobile device in the course of their clinical duties; the majority used an iOS device. Social media and online learning were considered learning tools by over 75% of respondents, and over 74% agreed they should be further incorporated into prehospital education. The most popular platforms for CPC activities were YouTube and Facebook. The majority of respondents (88%) viewed self-directed activities to constitute continuous professional development activity, but 64% felt that an activity that resulted in the awarding of a certificate was better value. Over 90% of respondents had previous experience with online learning, but only 42% indicated they had previously purchased or paid for online learning. Conclusion Prehospital practitioners in Ireland in the population studied consider online learning and social media acceptable for CPC purposes. The main social media outlets used by PHECC registrants are YouTube and Facebook. Practitioners consider online learning that awards a certificate to be better value than self-directed activities. The majority have previous experience of online learning. The results of this study can be used to ensure educational interventions are targeted at practitioners through the correct channels.