A ‘blended learning’ approach to training: focus on practical NCD management skills

The PCI team recently carried out a training with Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Jordan on providing NCD care in humanitarian settings for clinicians and medical programme managers working in MSF clinics in the region. This was the first time we used a ‘blended learning’ approach, where participants completed an e-learning course in advance of the face-to-face training. Read more about how this new approach worked from one of our clinical team members Dr Helen Bygrave:

‘The e-learning covered the basic clinical diagnosis and management of the common NCDs treated in the MSF programmes, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and thyroid disease. The face to face component focused on ensuring participants could translate the theoretical knowledge from the e-learning into practical skills to be used within their own settings. This included demonstration of history and examination skills, consultation skills – such as breaking bad news, and applying a person centred approach to providing care. The course also included skills required for effective NCD programme management, such as working as a team, clinic organisation, appointment systems and tracing. The word clouds (shown above and to the side) that were developed during the training session on person centred care demonstrate the challenges many settings face in delivering quality NCD care and the type of services that we should aspire to provide.

During the training we had a short chat with one of the participants based in Lebanon on her experience of the week:

What is really nice about the training is that it is very practical….It has a lot of activities, role plays, case discussions.. developing a teaching session. We had to develop ideas, not just be lectured at.”

What might you do differently in your project after this week:

“I am in an NCD technical referent role in my project– focused on supervision and teaching. So for me it is about taking back what I want to teach all our GPs. In particular, I would like to take back the more operational sessions on person-centred care, on consultation skills – this is an area we can improve quite a bit. In medical education there isn’t much done on consultation skills, on these ‘soft-skills’. I’m actually planning to integrate that into our monthly training that we do. Another idea to cascade the training to others is to get the e-learning to all the GPs in our project and do, for example, one module per month, and then discuss together what they learned And of course the session on monitoring and evaluation gives reinforcement on the importance of feeding back data to the clinicians to improve quality of care…    I got some great ideas from the Iraqi team who do a monthly medical report to do this clinic by clinic, to feedback on the data. Overall it’s been so great to hear stories and learn from different places and settings.”

Another similar ‘blended learning’ training is planned with MSF in East Africa later this year.