Assessing the influence of e-learning on the performance of healthcare professionals: a case study of UKZN-NORHED collaboration.
Oluwadele, Oluwaseun Deborah.
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HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and some other antibiotic resistant infections are the top causes of morbidity in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa generally. There is dire need to carefully examine cross-disciplinary approaches to combat the burden of diseases in South Africa and other sub-Saharan African countries. One of such approaches is e-learning. This study assesses the influence of e-learning on the individual and organizational performance of Healthcare Professionals by adopting a descriptive and exploratory approach. This study adopted a purely qualitative case study approach because it sought to understand the problem relative to existing contexts especially since there exist very few body of knowledge in this domain. The census non-probability sampling technique was used to select participants for the study with thoughtful consideration of the size limitation of the case-study to allow for exhaustive inclusion. In-depth semi-structured interview was conducted amongst seven (7) healthcare professionals who took a pure e-learning module; Antimicrobial Stewardship and conservancy in Africa. The study revealed that in sub-Saharan Africa, e-learning could be used to strengthen the capacity of HCPs to combat the high burden of diseases if attention is paid to the alignment between the learning task demands of the e-learning module and the technological infrastructures provided to enable the accomplishment of such learning tasks, while adapting the learning process to cater for the individual diversity and contextual limitations of HCPs. Participants felt that there existed a solid task-technology fit between the task requirements of the module and the learning management system technology (UKZN Moodle). The program accommodated HCPs’ individual and contextual diversities. Therefore, their individual and organizational performance were enhanced. HCP were satisfied with the program and acquired the set of knowledge and skills which helped them to pass the module. Both practicing clinical physicians and non-practicing clinical physicians could transfer the knowledge and skills acquired to their daily clinical/work practices. Knowledge transfer to practice was revealed to have benefitted HCPs work organizations in diverse ways. Furthermore, HCPs acquired technological skills which they stated to have been of benefit to them and their work organizations even much more than the module content knowledge and skills which they acquired. This study is an eye opener to the potentials and challenges of e-learning in medical education in South Africa, and other sub-Saharan African countries.