A bright future for distance-learning? Challenges and potential solutions
The late advances in communication allowed distance barriers to dramatically become less important when it refers to continuing education. At the same time, the great amount of “scientific” information currently available demands from each individual proper training in order to distinguish poor from reliable science. In this regard, many believe the best alternative to address the growing escalade of poor science is to implement strategies fostering broad education programs in evidence-based medicine (EBM). This would allow not only readers to better assess the available evidence but also researchers to produce science on better standards.
The idea is that these concepts should be widely available and introduced gradually so that most citizens could understand its basic terms. To address this challenge, distance-learning training programs are being developed in several locations around the world. However, in spite of the possibility of face to face interactions, there are still several pedagogical challenges in order to allow students to develop critical thinking skills in clinical research. Although our experience confirms that most of our challenges are common to any educational program, such as student motivation and engagement, several issues are exclusive to online programs. In the study entitled the “An international web-based clinical research-training program” , we describe some of the challenges and successes of a global distance-learning clinical research-training program.
Challenges faced in distance-learning courses
Distance-learning is an important and accessible method for developing critical thinking skills in research-methodology programs.
 Suemoto et al., 2015, ‘Five-year review of an international clinical research-training program’, Adv Med Educ Pract. 6: 249-257.
Conflict of interest statement: None to declare.
Biography: Augusto Cesar Soares dos Santos Jr is a 2019 Building Capacity Bursary recipient to attend EBMLive. He is a Nephrologist with a PhD in Health Sciences, currently based at the Hospital das Clínicas Ebserh, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil. His research involves the use of “real-world” and big-data for Health Technology Assessment (HTA), disinvestment from low-value health technologies, patient involvement with HTA and artificial intelligence in the process of decision making under “uncertainty”.