A new report from the London International Development Center (LIDC), “Distance Learning for Health: What Works,” presents findings from a global review of distance learning programs for medical professionals in low- and middle-income countries. The report, authored by Chris Joynes, was launched at the LIDC-3ie seminar “What works in international development? Internet-based medical education: findings and lessons from a realist review.” Both the FAIMER fellowship programs and The Open University-FAIMER-WFME Distance Learning Modules in Medical Education are cited in the report as examples of effective educational models that incorporate distance learning. The FAIMER fellowship programs in particular are noted as having led to concrete changes in curricula and institutional policies at the home institutions of the FAIMER Fellows and beyond. More information on the report, as well as links to summaries and the report in its entirety can be found on the LIDC website.
A two-day workshop exploring the benefits and drawbacks of open and distance learning for the health communities in developing countries was held October 26-27, 2010, at the London International Development Centre. Success stories shared by workshop presenters included programs for nurses in Kenya and India. Presenters identified common challenges such as low completion rates and inappropriate technologies for poorer settings. Ralf Graves, M.S., FAIMER’s Associate Director, Regional Institutes, was among the presenters at the DL4H workshop. Ms. Graves spoke about strengthening health professions education. Conference attendees explored various aspects of the theme, including the fact that competence does not necessarily equate to performance; the difficulties often faced in program evaluation and providing evidence of impact; and the dependence of health outcomes on factors such as politics, pay, and job satisfaction. For more information on the DL4H workshop, visit http://www.lidc.org.uk/news_detail.php?news_id=104.