Disrupting the Implementation Gap with Digital Technology in Healthcare Distance Education: Critical Insights from an e-Mentoring Intensional Network Practitioner Research Project

Gurmit Singh [edugsi@leeds.ac.uk], School of Education, University of Leeds, United Kingdom


Effective professional distance education is urgently needed to develop a well-trained workforce and improve impact on healthcare. However, distance education initiatives have had mixed results in improving practice. Often, successful implementation fails to leverage insights on the social and emergent nature of learning in networks.

This paper critically evaluates a 3-year practitioner research study to implement an e-mentoring programme with a new digital tool to support healthcare professionals from developing countries. As compared to a conventional top-down project planning and management approach to execute programmes, I argue that implementing a practitioner research approach is more effective in producing change to educational practice. This is because it built an ‘intensional network’ of practice to link peers, mentors and experts strategically to disrupt reified practices, drive collaboration and knowledge sharing across time and distance.

As global health confronts the reality of a networked sociality, I urge curriculum designers to activate intensional networks to address the practical problems of implementing new digital technologies into distance education for health care professionals that result in dynamic changes to practice.

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e-learning, distance learning, distance education, online learning, higher education, DE, blended learning, MOOCs, ICT, information and communication technology, collaborative learning, internet, interaction, learning management system, LMS,

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