During November and December 2017 Physiopedia ran their sixth Massive Open Online Course titled Managing Children with Clubfoot. 7,277 participants representing 156 countries formally registered to take part in the course. 89% were physiotherapists, 68% were clinicians and the majority had less than 1 year experience of clubfoot.
The course was developed as a collaboration between Physiopedia, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Global Clubfoot Initiative (GCI). The ACT Team and partners, including the University of Oxford, CURE International and Global Clubfoot Initiative kindly provided content for the course, which was supplemented with additional material from global experts. A French version of the course, translated and facilitated by Humanity & Inclusion (HI), ran concurrently.
The content of the course was designed for physiotherapists in any global context, all healthcare workers from any location and context were invited to participate. Being open for anyone to participate allowed for the unique experiences of global conversation around the topic and peer-to-peer learning across contexts and experiences.
The course was delivered through the Physiopedia Plus (PP+) online learning platform. The four week course presented different topics each week through a variety of learning activities to suit all learning styles. As participants engaged with each learning activity it was recorded and displayed in their own personal learning dashboard and recorded in their learning portfolio.
Course registration data demonstrated the unique opportunity that this course has provided in offering an easily accessible knowledge development option for health care professionals across a wide distribution of geographical locations and contexts.
Overall there was agreement that the course was enjoyable to work through, an appropriate length with the right amount of work required each week, was pitched at the right level and would be recommended to colleagues.
Course evaluation data highlighted the positive impact that this course has had on clinical practice. There was suggestion of changes in practice to utilise more appropriate clinical tools and approaches to care, and to incorporate a more holistic care package to include management of psychological factors and parents/carers to improve compliance for better outcomes. One significant outcome from the course is the enthusiasm to follow up by the sharing of knowledge, review existing services and development of new services, particularly where little or nothing currently exists for children with clubfoot.
For ICRC, the opportunity to provide access of information in volatile contexts, such as Syria, Libya or Yemen, enables the planning of future clubfoot practical training and service development. The course will provide baseline knowledge for staff and partners to participate in future practical training and the initiation of new clubfoot services in Iraq and Palestinian Territory-Gaza.
For GCI, the course has supported their mission to educate health care professionals globally to manage children with clubfoot in the most appropriate and effective way. The course and the continued access to online resources offers an excellent introduction to the practical skills training through the Africa Clubfoot Training Project.