Study design and protocol for a comprehensive evaluation of a UK massive open online course (MOOC) on quality improvement in healthcare

Sian K Smith, Tricia Woodhead, Anna Burhouse, Christos Vasilakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Introduction Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) offer a flexible approach to online and distance learning, and are growing in popularity. Several MOOCs are now available, to help learners build on their knowledge and skills in a number of healthcare topics. More research is needed to determine the effectiveness of MOOCs as an online education tool, and explore their longer-term impact on learners’ professional practice. We present a protocol
describing the design of a mixed-methods evaluation of a MOOC designed to strengthen learners’ knowledge and confidence with engaging in quality improvement (QI) activities, as well as to signpost resources and additional learning and training opportunities.
Methods and analysis A pre-post study design using quantitative and qualitative methods will be used to evaluate the QI MOOC. Different elements of the RE-AIM (reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, and maintenance) and Kirkpatrick models will be used to guide the evaluation. All learners who register for the course will be invited to participate in the QI MOOC evaluation study. Those who consent will be asked to complete a
pre-survey to assess baseline QI knowledge (self-report and objective) and perceived confidence in engaging in QI activities. Upon completion of the course, participants will complete a post-survey measuring again knowledge and perceived confidence. Feedback on the course content and how it can be improved will be obtained. A sub-set of participants will be invited to take part in a follow-up qualitative interview, three months after taking the
course, to explore in-depth how the MOOC impacted their behaviour in practice.
Ethics and dissemination: The study has been approved by the University of Bath Human Research Ethics Committee (reference: 2958). Study findings will be published in peer reviewed journals, and disseminated at conference and departmental presentations, and more widely using social media, microblogging sites and periodicals aimed at healthcare professionals.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere031973
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Open
Publication statusPublished - 24 Dec 2019

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