Welcome to the 3rd Wednesday Exploration, a series of weekly posts highlighting resources which may be of interest to healthcare professionals with an interest in or engaged in research.
Whilst we tend to think about courses in terms of modules and programmes delivered within Universities there is a rapidly increase range of high quality learning opportunities provided outside academia. I value greatly the opportunities offered by Future Learn and its mission to, ‘pioneer the best social learning experience for everyone, anywhere’ and for many reasons would encourage you to venture into the wonderful world that is Future Learn .
At a time when accessing funding for personal development within the NHS is becoming extremely challenging and time out from direct clinical harder to obtain Future Learn has the potential to open avenues of possibility. All of the courses it offers are free and online so can be taken at a time and place that fits around your practice.
However whilst cost and time are important of greater importance is the quality of the learning experience. Future Learn is owned by the Open University (OU) therefore you are accessing high quality courses which are informed by the OU’s wealth of experience of delivering online learning. The courses are developed in partnership with internationally renowned universities and cultural institutions enabling you to learn from international experts in their field.
Signing up for a course is straightforward and once the course starts it is easy to follow. I am not going to go into the detail here as it is all on the website. It is worth noting that courses are certified by the CPD certification service. Whilst participating in the course is free the certification gives you the option of buying a statement of participation as evidence of your CPD for your portfolio.
There are currently 13 categories to explore including Health and Psychology, Business and Management, Online and Digital, and Teaching and Studying. To illustrate the range of opportunities available here is a sample of courses which may be of interest to health researchers:
- Health technology assessment: choosing which treatments get funded. University of Sheffield
- Logical and critical thinking. University of Auckland
- Making Sense of Health Evidence: the informed consumer. Cardiff University
- Improving Healthcare Through Clinical Research. University of Leeds
- Big data: from data to decisions. Queensland University of Technology
- Big data; data visualisation. Queensland University of Technology
- Developing your research project. University of Southampton
and here are a few which may support your clinical practice:
- Supporting people living with long-term conditions. Kings College London
- Literature and mental health; reading for wellbeing. University of Warwick
- Medicine adherence: supporting patients with their treatment. Kings College London
- Social Media in healthcare: opportunities and challenges. Taipei Medical University
- Medicine and the arts: humanizing healthcare. University of Cape Town
The overview of each course tells you who it is aimed at, some are aimed specifically at healthcare professionals whilst others are aimed at a wider audience. For example the Dementia: understanding and managing challenging behavior course is aimed at carers, Nutrition and wellbeing is aimed at anyone interested in the topic as is Mindfulness for wellbeing and peak performance and the Making Sense of Health Evidence is identified as being of value to lay members of research committees or advisory panels.
Therefore even if you aren’t looking for a course for yourself it is worth exploring Future Learn as there may be courses of relevance to your clients. Similarly if you are a team leader and frustrated by needing to turn down requests for attending courses this may be a way of alerting your team to CPD opportunities to access either on an individual or group basis.
As with previous posts if you access a resource on a regular basis which you feel would be useful to healthcare professionals with an interest in or engaged in research please share it.