Does a blended learning environment suit advanced practice training for pharmacists in a Middle East setting?

Kerry Wilbur, Andrea D.J. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives: The transfer of pedagogies and instructional techniques outside their contexts of origin may not be always be suitable for intended learners. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of Middle East pharmacists enrolled in advanced pharmacy practice courses delivered through a blended learning environment (BLE). Methods: Seventeen students and graduates from a BLE in Qatar participated in focus group interviews. A topic guide was developed to elicit these pharmacists' perspectives on perceived barriers to completing the courses and facilitating factors for content engagement and overall satisfaction. Discussions were recorded, transcribed verbatim and text analysed using thematic content analysis. Key findings: We identified three predominant themes in our analysis of these discussions: (1) relevance, (2) motivation and (3) communication. Participants favourably endorsed any programme aspect that linked with their workplace care responsibilities, but found it challenging to adapt to high-fidelity testing environments. The on-campus sessions were key for sustaining motivation and recommitting to time management and organisation with the distance-based content. Although these students expressed difficulty in understanding posted assignment instructions and feedback and occasionally faced technological issues, they were overwhelmingly satisfied with how the programme contributed to advancing their practice capabilities. Conclusions: Pharmacists enrolled in BLE advanced pharmacy practice courses in Qatar identified barriers and facilitators like those experienced by professional learners elsewhere. However, we found that instructional design and communication approaches merit some special consideration for Arab students for optimal engagement in BLE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)560-567
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmacy Practice
Volume26
Issue number6
Early online date29 Mar 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

Keywords

  • Blended learning environments
  • Continuous professional development
  • Middle East
  • Pharmacy education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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