NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Respiratory Health (RESPIRE)

Paper investigates blended learning approach for continuing professional education for GPs in Bangladesh

RESPIRE Fellow, Nazim Uzzaman, has published a paper in BMC Family Practice, exploring the use of a combination of face-to-face and online training on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for general practitioners (GPs) in Bangladesh.

The majority of GPs in the study preferred this blended learning approach. The findings are particularly relevant given the current COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in limited face-to-face contact across the globe.

A blended approach for busy GPs

Continuing medical education (CME) is essential to developing and maintaining high quality primary care. Traditionally, CME is delivered face-to-face, but due to geographical distances, and pressure of work in Bangladesh, GPs are unable to relocate for several days to attend training.

Using COPD as an exemplar, the study aimed to assess the feasibility of using a combination of face-to-face and online training for GPs, and explore trainees’ and trainers’ perspectives towards the blended learning approach.

Benefits to including both online and face-to-face components

Providing an online component allows practitioners increased time and flexibility for study, wider and easier access to learning resources, and a higher level of autonomy in learning than in exclusively face-to-face courses. However including a face-to-face component is necessary to acquire the practical skills needed for the management of COPD, such as spirometry and inhaler technique.

Most participants in the study thought that blended learning was a better and more convenient mode of training compared to either traditional or online training alone.

An increasing requirement for blended learning

In the context of COPD, where under-diagnosis and inadequate management is common, the study found that a blended-learning course was a feasible approach to enhancing knowledge and skills of GPs, and could contribute to improved implementation of guideline recommendations.

The flexible and practical blending of online and face-to-face learning has the potential to be used for CME of other long-term conditions in Bangladesh and beyond.

The findings are particularly relevant given the current COVID-19 pandemic, as learning with limited face-to-face contact becomes more common.

Read the paper

The publication is available from BMC Family Practice


Find out more about Nazim’s study