The Open Education in Eye Health (OEEH) team was formed in 2014 at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). The small core team of 5 members worked closely with over 100 collaborators from 25 countries to address the global challenge of inequitable participation in eye care education for the elimination of avoidable blindness and visual impairment. A condition which affects over 253 million people worldwide, 90% of whom live in low and middle-income countries. Inequity in training, particularly in areas of high need, is due to the lack of training opportunities, limited availability of high quality educational resources and the high cost of training delivery. In addition, eye health practitioners and training programmes are under constant pressure to keep up with an increasing pace of medical advances and manage the health care challenges caused by rapid demographic changes. To address a multifaceted problem, the team adopted a collaborative approach across key aspects:
- Developing high quality open educational resources (OER) in collaboration with LSHTM faculty, alumni and subject specific global experts. Five online courses (one multilingual) are currently active with two more in development.
- Improving access to training through large scale, free online courses on FutureLearn and by facilitating institutional partners to adopt the OER and courses.
- Partnering with funders to develop and provide the courses for free to participants. We acknowledge the primary funding support provided by Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and access to partnerships within the Commonwealth eye health consortium.
The project developed in stages, led by Dr Daksha Patel, an ophthalmologist and educator with over 25 years’ experience, in partnership with a digital education manager, Ms Sally Parsley. Detailed instructional design, supported by a steering group, provide the foundations for development of every course with learning activities scaffolded to promote engagement, self-assessment and application to eye health practice by a diverse range of participants. Bespoke impact assessment undertaken by Dr Astrid Leck, has enabled the team to build an informed approach. Extension of the open access model to strengthen adaptation for local use was undertaken with institutional partners at the University of Cape Town and the College of Ophthalmology for East, Central and South Africa. Successful implementation has resulted in the development of accredited programmes and capacity building in open educational practice. This approach has transformed access to eye health education globally. To date, OEEH marketing led by Romulo Fabunan, has reached more than 22,000 participants from over 180 countries who have enrolled on the available courses.
Dr Daksha Patel - Academic project and content lead
Dr Astrid Leck - Project researcher
Ms Sally Parsley - Design and implementation lead
Ms Jelena Djordjevic - Learning technologist
Mr Romulo Fabunan - Marketing administrator