This year I learned about infectious diseases and healthcare inequalities, about paediatric HIV care and the realities faced by local health centers in rural Uganda that lack equipment and staff to treat the patients that arrive each day.
But mostly I spent a lot of time in front of a computer.
I started out researching software to develop curriculum and building learning modules. I learned about SCORM, a scary content development language that proved to be completely unnecessary for my work. I explored alternative learning methods and found myself drawn to the idea of using mobile phones for learning. I created and implemented a survey of 300 IDI trainees to assess their knowledge, attitudes and practices around the use of technology in order to build the most effective distance learning tool. It turned out that my hunch was right. Healthcare workers in rural areas had less access to computers than basic mobile phones. They could learn using the tool in their pocket, let alone the computers and USB flash drives.
Quickly, I started poking my nose around to see what sort of funding was available to get the distance learning project off the ground. I found myself wandering the streets of Geneva looking for funding… well it didn’t work out, but eventually I worked with a colleague to draft a proposal that was accepted (success) and then declined (boo). But the project wouldn’t be stopped.
I expanded an offline learning tool by coordinating a post training support pilot with the objective to improve knowledge retention from training and increase quality of paediatric HIV care in 25 facilities. 72 participants were trained, assessed and provided post training follow up in person or using computer and mobile phone based learning tools. That was the big project.
On the side, I negotiated with Intel to pilot a learning management framework, a project that is continuing to the 4th class of fellows, I researched mLearning and participated as a guest facilitator in three external mLearning and mHealth workshops. I coordinated a project to clear all IDI curricula of plagiarism. I researched accreditation standards and developed partnerships with Makerere University and others in the hopes that future fellows and IDI staff would nurture and expand those relationships.
And somehow I managed to have a good time in Kampala.