Thursday 24 September 2009

What to take into account when developing online courses for learners in low resource settings

The last two years I have been co-developing a course called eSCART (electronic Short Course in Antiretroviral Therapy), a course that is organized by the Institute of Tropical Medicine. Although this course is fully online, demands 3 months of intense learning, addresses learners in low resource areas, it is a success. Or at least I see it as a success.

The challenges to get this online course for physicians that work on HIV/AIDS going were multiple. We also needed to create bridges between all the cultures that mixed during the course and for these three months (in two sessions: 85 learners from 31 countries, mostly from the South and tropical regions). We had a drop-out rate of 5%, which to our estimate is indicative for a sound online course.

So some of my networking colleagues asked me to share what we took into account when developing the course and especially how human respect was weaved into the fabric of the course.

Now I am sure we could improve a lot, so if you have extra pointers or ways you tackle international online courses for low resource areas or aimed at multiple cultures, let me know.

This presentation will also be given live on Friday 2nd October 2009, at the eLearning Guild's Online Forum numbered 401.

Looking forward to any comments you might have.