In-demand, interactive and an appetite for more: Analysis of learner enrolments and feedback in an open-access introductory telehealth course during COVID-19
Keywords:telemedicine, education, COVID-19, health occupations
Introduction: The use of telehealth has accelerated with health service delivery restrictions experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. This research assessed learner enrolments and feedback in an introductory, online, open-access, rural-focused telehealth training course to inform future telehealth education design.
Methods: Differences in enrolled learner demographics “before” (n = 331) and “after” (n = 3,776) COVID-19-related changes in Australia were assessed. Content analysis of learner feedback was conducted to understand the beneficial aspects of the course and to inform future telehealth education and training development.
Results: Concurrent with telehealth changes announced in Australia in March 2020, enrolments in the course sharply increased. While students comprised most enrolments, initial growth was strongest amongst health educators and health professionals. More learners enrolled from major city areas and other countries. User feedback indicated the flexible delivery mode, policy, links to resources and multimedia content were the most beneficial aspects of the course. Learners would like more client perspectives as well as discipline- and context-specific information. There is also an appetite for more practice-based telehealth education.
Conclusions: Growth in demand for the course and positive learner feedback showed it was filling an important introductory training gap. Learner feedback also highlighted several perceived barriers among learners in being able to implement best-practice telehealth in their current or future practice. This feedback could be used to inform the design of further telehealth training for health professionals and students to, ultimately, enhance the use of telehealth technologies.
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