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Thursday, May 18 • 15:00 - 15:45
Leveraging eLearning technology to strengthen nutrition workforce capacity LIMITED

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Given the unprecedented recognition of nutrition, encompassed in SDGs 2 & 3, the global commitment to accelerate reductions in malnutrition is promising. However, a large gap exists in nutrition workforce capacity in low and middle-income countries, risking achievement of these SDGs. Education experts recommend a blended online approach as the most cost-effective method to expand workforce capacity in nutrition. World Vision (WV) has pioneered an innovative approach, blending online self-study with professional mentoring for on-the-job training. Methods: Learners are screened with an ‘eLearning Readiness Survey’, which identifies computer and learning skills, social readiness, web connectivity, and provides recommendations for success in online learning. Training is applied through webcasts, practical field assignments, and online forums with peers, on a low bandwidth platform. Professional facilitators tailor technical support and coaching to learner’s needs, mentor in critical analysis skills and provide expert feedback. Reach is extended to field workers via an online format, which eliminates travel expenses, per diems and extended periods of absence from their workplace. Results: From 2012 to 2016, 21 sessions have been offered in one of three topics (multi-sectoral approach, reducing stunting, reducing anemia), with 146 practitioners from 46 countries graduating. The class completion rate was 67% (146/218), and of those graduating, 35% were from external NGO and government agencies. Most (98%) of respondents (n=146; 46% response rate) reported applying their course learnings to their job. Conclusions: High completion rates and learning transfer suggest the blended method has high potential to address the large workforce capacity gap to implement nutrition programs. Further research is needed to evaluate impact on programs, compare with traditional methods of in-service training, and identify full cost-recovery methods. Formal partnerships with academic institutions are anticipated to provide formal accreditation, additional reach and effectiveness.

avatar for Miriam Chang

Miriam Chang

Nutrition Technical Specialist, World Vision
Miriam Chang has served in both technical advisor and program management roles with World Vision Canada, the Southern Africa Regional Office and World Vision Malawi over the past 10 years. She has also worked as research coordinator at the University of Toronto in Canada and in pediatric... Read More →

Thursday May 18, 2017 15:00 - 15:45 IST