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Collaborative projects in Clinical Education & E-Learning in Malawi

To date the University of Edinburgh has led four Scottish Government IDF-funded projects in Malawi which build on Edinburgh’s strengths in clinical education and e-learning.

The aim is to support our partner institutions in Malawi to transform medical, nursing and clinical officer training in Malawi through the introduction of e-learning.

Our partners are:

  • The College of Medicine (CoM), University of Malawi, Blantyre (UG and PG medical education and training)
  • Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN), University of Malawi, Lilongwe and Blantyre (UG and PG nursing education and training)

Malawi needs to address a critical shortage of health care workers (doctors, clinical officers, nurses). The Ministry of Health have requested the major Health training institutions to rapidly increase student numbers and recognized that a number of barriers need to be overcome to enable this expansion to take place. For example, there are inadequate resources (accessible at the point of need and independent of a formal educational/training setting), there is a shortage of teaching staff, and there is a lack of appreciation of and knowledge about modern teaching methods and how ICT can be employed to enhance the student learning experience.

The Projects rely on implementing methods of effective sharing of existing (developed in Edinburgh) digital resources, and on creating fruitful partnerships between senior clinicians in Scotland and senior clinicians in Malawi to enable local resource creation and long-term sustainability, and have supported the Malawian healthcare education institutions to:

  • Modernise their curricula
  • Introduce online (virtual) learning environments
  • Empower students to take responsibility for their own learning by ensuring free access to a wide-range of electronic learning resources
  • Improve the IT infrastructure and technical skills of IT-support staff
  • Build capacity (‘Training the Trainers’ workshops) by training teaching staff to create resources locally
  • Raise awareness of innovative pedagogies through professional staff development

Recent Projects

Transforming the education and training of clinical professionals delivering maternal and child healthcare in Malawi (2013-2016)

Is the most recent project and aims to support postgraduate education in medicine and nursing in Malawi and specifically those courses which underpin post-basic training in maternal and child health i.e. Masters courses for doctors and nurses in maternal and child health specialties and a range of new specialty BSc degrees offering post-basic training for clinical officers.

The project builds on previous projects where the introduction of new pedagogies and support for student learning through e-learning at undergraduate level has been transformative. Specifically it will deliver: training in digital resource creation; support in developing curriculum management systems; a central resource repository of online learning resources; IT systems to support delivery of online assessments and course evaluations; and improved connectivity between courses and students on internships in district hospitals.

Postgraduate Education

Postgraduate education of Malawian surgical trainees has also been supported through the provision of scholarships enabling them to study the University of Edinburgh MSc in Surgical Sciences - an online MSc studied by distance learning which enables the trainees to study while continuing to live and work in Malawi. The first trainee, Dr Lughano Kalongolera graduated In July 2013 and there are currently six further Malawian surgical trainees studying the MSc.