It finally happened! Recently Karolinska Institutet has announced that it launched its first Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), which would start in Autumn 2014. Four courses will be offered: “An Introduction to Global Health”, “Behavioral Medicine: A Key to Better Health”, “Explore Statistics with R” and “Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trials”. I was looking forward to this news for a year or so, already registered for the course “Behavioral Medicine” and decided to share my thoughts on “why”.
I have experience of taking online courses on different platforms and personally think this is a great innovation in the education space. Online courses give individuals across the world the opportunity to learn from the best professors in the field literally for free. The only thing that a student invests – is his/her time. And in my case – that was worth it!
First course I took was “Gamification”. It is a quiet a buzz word now, with many people stating that gamification has the potential to improve users engagement in the particular service. This engagement is very critical in healthcare, as better patients’ engagement in the treatment process leads to better treatment results. I was interested, enrolled myself in the course where I learned the basics, submitted assignments and reviewed others work. This course structure provided both theoretical knowledge and allowed developing practical skills of working with gamification tools. Of course, one cannot become a “gamification specialist” right after finishing the course, but what the course gives is the common understanding of the topic and a basement for further learning.
Another course that I would like to mention was “Mobile Health without borders”. The course consisted of theoretical materials in form of lectures and practical work on a group project aimed at solving one of the acute healthcare needs with the help of mobile technologies. Therefore, the following knowledge/skills were acquired during the course:
- virtual team work management
- collecting existing evidence about the challenge including healthcare and financial implications, analyzing existing solutions
- brainstorming and generating idea, developing a prototype of the solution
- defining a business model.
On top of this such a benefit of working in a group as learning from your teammates should be added.
I am not saying, that MOOCs is a panacea, which will boost immediately quality of education across the globe. What I am saying is that now we have more opportunities to learn about things we are interested in at much less costs. Exciting times or Something to think about, may be?
All the best with your learning,