Online learning is not the next big thing, it is the now big thing

6 Dec 2018

AMA member and rural GP, Dr Chris Clohesy, has provided a review of his recent experience with online learning.

Online education has overcome many barriers to learning such as geographical isolation and limited specialist training staff, whilst providing a standardisation of experience. Being a GP in a remote outback location can be challenging, as you are likely to be the only doctor in the area. If things go wrong, help may be some time away. I constantly juggle clinical, professional development and personal commitments. The key to working remotely is to keep your skills and knowledge up to date. Online learning not only takes the travel time out of attending face-to-face educational activities but is often a superior way of delivering education. Following adult learning principles, online learning allows the self-motivated learner to learn at their own pace in their own time, and review content again and again.   

doctorportal Learning is a great online education platform for doctors, providing access to evidence-based medical learning. One of the latest learning modules is Blood Born Viruses (BBVs) 2017.

At first glance, you might expect this online learning module to be about the specific management of BBVs, particularly HIV, Hep B/C and HTLV. I thought this was the case when I enrolled. However, the module directs its focus on the public health policy that surrounds BBVs.

The first topic outlines the AMA’s position statement 2017. The AMA supports the availability of new, regularly evaluated treatments for BBVs, alongside an increased focus on screening, immunisation and prevention.

The second topic summarises how prevention, treatment and management of BBVs should be informed by the five key Commonwealth strategies. These five key strategies cover Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, HIV Aboriginal and Torres Strait Health, and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. The final topic discusses public health issues of BBVs in relation to Sex Workers, custodial facilities and criminal and public health law.

The time commitment for this online learning module is a little over an hour. The target audience is very broad, which is reasonable as the content is relevant across the medical spectrum. I found the module to be interactive and user-friendly, involving audio-visual presentations, useful links to the resources, and reflecting quizzes.

Blood Borne Viruses (BBVs) 2017 is accredited with the RACGP and ACRRM, which is excellent.

Many education providers do not get their online education accredited for CPD points, relying on the participant to register these with their medical college(s). It is always refreshing when a medical education provider has gone an extra step to have their learning accredited for CPD points. It saves us time and speeds things up.

So, in summary, Blood Borne Viruses 2017 is a great online learning package, that I recommend to all clinicians. And remember, if you are not undertaking any online education these days, then you are being left behind.

Dr Chris Clohesy

MClinEd (Master’s in clinical education)