E-learning in the School Management of Diabetes

Dr Kunal Patel 10 Jul 2019

Images from Obesity Campaign Launched by Cancer Research UK

You hear many people say ‘that makes sense’ when the use of online learning is mentioned in the same space as continual education. However, many in the space know that just because it is online or new technology, it doesn’t mean it has any educational foundations in terms of structure and eventual impact. MOOCs being a classic case in point.  As a physician, I would be worried if any of my colleagues had only updated their learning on a subject such as 'vaccine control', via a MOOC with zero accreditation.

Nevertheless, other aspects of medical learning are looked at even less and this includes that within the community. Obesity and diabetes are currently very topical, especially with the strong, yet, impactful obesity campaign launched by Cancer Research UK last week, which promoted the need to understand that obesity is a cancer risk. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes are increasing in incidence, therefore improved health professional as well as patient learning is required in the community.

E-learning in the school management of diabetes

With the rise of childhood obesity and diabetes, school management is essential. This is for both the increasing Type 2 but also the already prevalent Type 1 forms. Therefore, health professionals need to be increasingly trained for this area, as early intervention is a must. A recent study from the Department of Public Health and Health Education, The College at Brockport, State University of New York looked at e-learning and its impact on school-based diabetes management. The researchers' highlight that commonly, professional development offerings are generally minimal and more likely to be offered in districts that require chronic disease health services provision, and not across all geographies. So, therefore, can rapid access to e-learning benefit?

A rapid e-learning module intervention was to improve respondent knowledge of the newest guidelines for diabetes management in the school setting. The module is readily available online. A pre-module quiz quickly showed gaps in knowledge amongst learners, but after completion, nurses’ knowledge significantly improved. These initial results are encouraging. This rapid access module for school management of diabetes, that is accessible, has improved knowledge. Keeping abreast on recent developments for diabetes care, while maintaining a heavy workload, is imperative to counter the rise in obesity and diabetes amongst children.

E-learning is not the complete solution to the obesity crisis, but by changing the pricing model of education, while being quickly accessible and updateable, e-learning can benefit nurses in school communities.