Authentic learning with technology for professional development in vaccine management
Keywords:authentic learning, online professional development, vaccine management
Online professional development (OPD) is gaining increasing popularity. However, online learning environments are not always considered effective venues for supporting authentic learning experiences, and the suitability of OPD for practical learning has not been widely explored. This case study paper presents findings of a pilot implementation of an OPD program in vaccine management designed according to the pedagogical principles of authentic learning, using a range of educational technologies as cognitive tools. The study examines how the authentic learning design and the technologies used affect the participants’ learning experience, experience of authenticity and the perceived impact of the course on professional learning. Data was collected through observations, an online post-course survey and interviews with the participants. A thematic content analysis was conducted. The findings suggest the pedagogical framework of authentic e-learning provides useful guidelines for the design of fully online, yet active and practice-driven, professional development that is also perceived as authentic by the participants. Using online education technologies as cognitive tools can support the creation of an authentic learning environment where practical, transferable professional skills can be acquired. Achieving this requires careful consideration of accessibility and usability issues and ensuring that the technologies used serve an authentic purpose.
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