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Using Evaluation to Guide Successful Development of an Online Training Course for Healthcare Professionals

Dunet, Diane O. PhD; Reyes, Michele PhD; Grossniklaus, Daurice RN, MS, MEd; Volansky, Michele MPH; Blanck, Heidi Michels PhD

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice: January/February 2008 - Volume 14 - Issue 1 - p 66–75
doi: 10.1097/01.PHH.0000303416.04604.e3
Article

Aim: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed an online training course to address a lack of knowledge among healthcare professionals regarding the identification of patients at risk for hemochromatosis and recognition of its related early symptoms. A multilevel evaluation design was used to (a) guide course development, (b) test course efficacy, and (c) assess training impact.

Methods: Highly focused, brief evaluation activities with the intended audience (N = 642) provided a stream of qualitative and quantitative data that guided course design, development, and implementation.

Results: The training course had intended positive impacts on healthcare professionals' knowledge and perceived competence in recognizing, diagnosing, and treating hemochromatosis. Both physicians and nurses directly attributed changes in their clinical practice to course participation including increases in appropriate diagnostic biochemical testing for iron overload in new and existing patients.

Conclusions: The hemochromatosis course is a successful learning tool that has the desired impact on learning and knowledge reinforcement. The evaluation conducted provided a stream of evidence that was useful in course development as well as assessment of training outcomes. The detailed evaluation plan description may serve as a template for assessing other online continuing education training courses that address public health issues.

This article investigates an evaluation plan to guide successful development of an online training course for healthcare professionals. The plan may serve as a template for assessing other online continuing education training courses that address public health issues.

Diane O. Dunet, PhD, is a senior program evaluator, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Michele Reyes, PhD, is the team leader, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Daurice Grossniklaus, RN, MS, MEd, is a doctoral student, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.

Michele Volansky, MPH, is a certified physician assistant, Hematology/Oncology Department, VA Medical Center, Atlanta, Georgia.

Heidi Michels Blanck, PhD, is a senior research scientist, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Corresponding Author: Diane O. Dunet, PhD, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, MS K-26, Atlanta, GA 30341 (ddunet@cdc.gov).

The authors thank the following colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Melissa Locket, for her ongoing assistance in data compilation and analysis for Continuing Education participants; Gregory Ward, for his assistance in administering the e-mailed survey component of the evaluation and comments on earlier drafts of this article; and Nancy Gathany, for providing periodic feedback on course prototypes and comments on earlier drafts of this article. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the CDC.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.