Lewis, P. A, Tutticci, N. F, Douglas, C., Gray, G., Osborne, Y., Evans, K. & Nielson, CM. (2016). Flexible learning: Evaluation of an international distance education programme designed to build the learning and teaching capacity of nurse academics in a developing country. Nurse Education in Practice,21 59-65. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nepr.2016.10.001
The professional development of nurse academics has been high on the agenda in many of the Asia-Pacific's developing countries including Vietnam. In collaboration with the Vietnamese Nurses Association, an Australian university designed and delivered a distance learning programme (DLP). The DLP sought to build academic capacity with a specific focus on the skills required to develop, implement and deliver a new national nursing curriculum. This paper will describe the design and delivery of the DLP as well as report on programme evaluation survey findings. Of the 175 surveys administered 112 were returned yielding a response rate of 64%. The majority of Vietnamese nurse academics identified all DLP modules as ‘very well’ designed and easy to learn from (range 63.9%–84.2%). Predominantly, academics also found the module content to be ‘of great use’ to their professional practice (range 73%–89.5%). Asked specifically about the benefit of the DLP online discussions, 106 (95.5%) participants stated they found the online discussions to be of use. An explanatory comment was also requested to explore this question and responses yielded three themes: ‘networking and collaboration’; ‘acquiring new knowledge’; and ‘improving English’. When asked if they had changed their academic practice as a result of DLP participation, 105 (94.6%) academics stated they had – change was focussed on student centred learning and building a staff community of practice. While these study results indicate the DLP to be successful, it will be how Vietnamese academics utilise and build these skills which will measure the real success of the programme in the future.
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