Friday, 11 March 2016

Why I created a website for hand surgery education - the theoretical basis.

Software: Moodle learning management system

Rationale for program:

Hand injuries and ailments are common complaints seen by health care systems around the world.  Quality care and optimum outcomes in the management of these patients require adequate breadth and depth of knowledge in the form, function and ailments of the hand.

The current undergraduate medical curriculum is unable to deliver this knowledge set due to the pressures of time and content. Hand surgery programmes that are currently available have exclusive entry requirements, limiting access to the acquisition of this knowledge. They do not offer flexible and on-demand learning that is centred on the student, universally accessible and affordable while being locally relevant.

The target audience

This unique programme is designed for practising doctors who are or who would like to manage patients with hand problems. It is universally accessible with an on line learning platform and is modular in nature, catering to the complex learning needs of the working doctor embarking on postgraduate medical education. Using action learning principles and a work-based learning framework, it provides an opportunity for the doctor to acquire knowledge and skills in hand surgery in a clinical setting. Each module requires the candidate to do reflective learning in their own environment.( London, M., & Hall, M. 2011) These are adult learners who are working with other conflicting commitments and require on demand, self-paced and self-directed learning that is community based and relevant with their work environment. (Williams, C 2010)

Learning, teaching and assessment methods
All content and learning systems will be delivered through Moodle, an open source course management system ( 
It will be supported and facilitated by the Academic Advisor and fellow students.
Each registered candidate will be allocated a faculty academic advisor for the entire programme.
This programme is conducted completely on-line.   E-learning objects will be available on the learning management system and all teaching, lectures, web-seminars, learning and assessment will be monitored on-line via the system. Assignments will be submitted on-line and candidates will receive feedback and support via the on-line system.
Candidates will explore the literature through a variety of open learning materials such as on-line search engines,  Exploration of the literature through a variety of open learning materials, (e.g. library, IT, search engines, completion of workbooks) and the on-line Moodle resource is expected. (
Practice based scenarios and the use of case studies will be utilised in e-learning objects. Reflection is required regularly via on-line postings.

Theoretical basis for choice

Adult learners, have different needs and preferences. They have prior knowledge and have their own opinions of things and prefer to have collaborative learning experiences. They need to see real world relevance to their learning and an outcome based learning. They are self-motivated and self-directed. They prefer to be treated as mature students and have different and varying social and personal needs that need catering for. (O'Toole, S., & Essex, B., 2012).
The constructivist theory of learning is fundamental in adult learning where the learner  participates actively and constructively. He is an information constructor where he “actively constructs or creates their own subjective representations of objective reality. New information is linked to prior knowledge, thus mental representations are subjective.” ( 2013)
The author’s choice for using Moodle learning management system was reached following analysis using the principles governing connectivity that was included by Siemens G (2005).
E-learning in Moodle environment is” one of the very perspective solutions for lifelong learning.” (V Siirak 2012) **
Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions.

In this category Moodle provide an opportunity for diversity of opinions as there are activities which included forums, wikis  and other sources of information and knowledge with the ability to share and connect among learners and teachers..

Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources.

Moodle provides connection to other students, teachers and information sources. The resources component of Moodle allows for connection to any other resource materials uploaded or linked to other web sources.

 Learning may reside in non-human appliances.

Moodle resource section allows for learning artefacts to be uploaded or other sources on the net to be linked. Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) compliance of Moodle allows for universal accessible web based e learning objects to be created to allow for a rich learning experience with multimedia and interactive artefacts.

Learning is more critical than knowing.

The various resource options and activities in Moodle allow for students to find      knowledge when it is needed and know where to look for them and allow them to sign post their own discovery of knowledge warehouses for others to learn from.

Maintaining and nurturing connections

The various activities in Moodle allow for chat, forums and wiki functions. Surveys and Quiz can be used for assessing learning and also learning needs analysis and allow for relvant and meaningful two way feedback.

Perceiving connections between fields, ideas and concepts.

The backend of Moodle allows for monitoring all learning transactions. It allows for collaborative work through wikis and forums.  

Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) 

This is dependent on the effort in maintaining currency by the users and administrators. It also allows for automated updates by linking to various Rich Site Summary (RSS) feeds in the resources section. Forums and wikis allow for this to be generated by the learners.

Decision-making as a learning process. 

The use of SCORM compliant learning objects allow for this to be taught and assessed in Moodle using the decision-making scenarios in various authoring tools like Articulate Storyline.

Assessing the course for the enabling conditions as outlined by Pettenati  e al (Pettenati, M. C., & Cigognini, M. E. 2007), Moodle has qualities that allow for:-

The ability of the learners to have basics technology skill

All potential learners would have the skill to use basic computer skills as most hospital environments require their possession for normal clinical practice.

Generation and support of motivation

The various activities modules in Moodle allow for support from the teachers or peer   through forums. Synchronous support and teaching can also be available via plug in modules that add virtual learning classrooms (like WizIq) to the site.

Relevance in learning and perceived real advantage by the learner

The content of the course is relevant to all that have exposure to hand injured patients. The structure of the lessons and resources on Moodle allow for self-paced and on demand learning which is advantageous to the adult work based learner that this site is targeted at. The program has been developed based on strong educational principles with clearly stated learning outcome.

Positive group membership and culture

Moodle allows for peer learners or tutors to connect with each other and develop and build the community with membership and culture through the forum.  
Social climate allows for mutual understanding and social grounding

The forums in Moodle allow for peer-to-peer connection in this course which allows for social presence among the learners and faculty and also allows for communication and collaboration and other tools like wikis facilitated this collaboration. 

** The author has been involved in on line teaching over the last decade and used Moodle as the platform for this. During this assignment he has been able to link the social pedagogical theory frame work and the learning site.

References: (22 April 2013) Citing website Constructivist TheoriesParadigms and Perspectives Retrieved April 4, 2013, from
London, M., & Hall, M. (2011). Unlocking the value of Web 2.0 technologies for training and development: The shift from instructor-controlled, adaptive learning to learner-driven, generative learning. Human Resource Management, 50(6), 757-775.
O'Toole, S., & Essex, B. (2012). The Adult Learner May Really Be a Neglected Species. Australian Journal Of Adult Learning, 52(1), 183-191.
Pettenati, M. C., & Cigognini, M. E. (2007). Social Networking Theories and Tools to Support Connectivist Learning Activities. International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies (IJWLTT), 2(3), 42-60.

Siemens, G. (January 2005). Citing Website in International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning Retrieved March 21 2013,:From

Siirak, V (2012). Moodle E-learning Environment as an Effective Tool in University Education. Journal of Information Technology and Application in Education Vol. 1 Iss. 2 2012 PP.94-96
Williams, C. (2010). Understanding the essential elements of work-based learning and its relevance to everyday clinical practice. Journal of Nursing Management, 18(6), 624-632

Wood, S. L. (2010). Technology for Teaching and Learning: Moodle as a Tool for Higher Education. International Journal Of Teaching And Learning In Higher Education, 22(3), 299-307.

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