Using a course pilot in the development of an online problem-based learning (PBL) therapeutics course in a post-professional PharmD program
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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: To assess whether the traditional problem-based learning (PBL) process can be replicated in an online environment, and to identify any barriers and facilitators to learning using a course pilot. EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITY AND SETTING: Eight alumni and one experienced tutor participated in a two-week simulated PBL course comprised of two three-hour synchronous online tutorials. Blackboard Collaborate® software was used to permit audio and visual interaction. The PBL tutorials were recorded and observed by the researchers. Participants completed satisfaction surveys after the pilot, and were invited to take part in a focus group to debrief about their experience. FINDINGS: Once the steep learning curve with the technology was overcome, the quality of the PBL process was similar in the online course as it was in the face-to-face course. Several key factors for success were identified through analysis of the videotaped sessions, and interviews with the participants in the course pilot. SUMMARY: Conducting a course pilot study demonstrated that an online PBL course is feasible, and identified some considerations to facilitate success.
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