MOOCs as open online learning tools for developing competences related to digital health and social care services for multidisciplinary students
Digital health and social care services are increasing worldwide, and the rapidly changing nature of the world is creating a need for new competences among health and social care students and professionals. The purpose of this paper is to describe the pedagogical solutions of the SotePeda 24/7 national educational development project and to explore especially the massive open online courses (MOOCs) related to digital health and social care services as open (CC BY-SA 4.0) and flexible opportunities for developing the competence of multidisciplinary students and professionals. The data were collected via an online questionnaire from 266 Finnish University of Applied Science (UAS) students participating in the 20 MOOCs piloted during the spring 2020 semester. The majority of the participants (87.6%) came from the health and social care fields. From the 913 registrees, 562 (62%) completed the MOOCs. While piloting the MOOCS, the COVID-19 pandemic influenced heavily, and this may have increased the number of participants in the MOOCs, but also affecting the MOOCs in decreased retention and increased number of dropouts. To motivate students to actively complete the MOOCs, most were offered as 1-ECTS credit courses. Shorter study units were used as they were considered more flexible than longer ones, allowing students to find time to complete them more easily. The data were analysed using nonparametric quantitative methods. According to the results, the MOOCs were very successful in offering students flexible and open online learning opportunities and tools for developing their competences. MOOCs can potentially be efficient tools also in developing professionals’ competences and pursuing lifelong learning. There is a fruitful ground in Finland to utilize open online learning opportunities as tools for developing competences because the already wide usage of digital tools and solutions in the country.
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