Friday 23 March 2018

Using MOOCs to transfer knowledge at WHO

When it comes to transferring knowledge to a massive audience, MOOCs are a potential solution.  Here is a fantastic example from the World Health Organisation.

Image from wikimedia commons
There are some Knowledge Management cases where knowledge is created through research and analysis, then needs to be spread around a wide audience. There are challenges to this sort of knowledge transfer, and just sending our reports and emails often does not work. MOOCs - Massive Open Onloine Courses - can be an answer.

This article describes an approach taken at WHO, and contains the following quotes from WHO scientists and doctors:

  • “The major epidemics we have seen this century highlighted the need for a system that quickly transforms scientific knowledge into action on the ground,”
  • “The key is actionable knowledge. For us the value of knowledge is when it is shared – and it is especially important that responders have enough knowledge to protect themselves and do good work. We had information on diseases like Plague, MERS and Ebola, we had a number of courses but they were on paper, not accessible from the field.”

WHO have created 34 online courses in multiple languages on a Portal they call "Online WHO", covering 4 areas

  1. pandemics and epidemics
  2. emergency response operations
  3. soft skills such as risk communications, social mobilization and community engagement, and 
  4. preparation for emergency field work.

So far response has been very good, and more than 25,000 people have signed up for the course.

Let's finish with a couple more quotes that show the critical importance of the effective transfer of transfer.
“We don’t call it training – we call it knowledge transfer. OpenWHO allows us and our key partners to transfer life-saving knowledge to large numbers of frontline responders quickly and reliably,” 
“Too many people have died from lack of knowledge. We want these online courses to help save lives.”

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