Learning never ends. It doesn't stop when we finish our studies or when we start our first job. Throughout our lives, we have to continue learning to develop our skills and to be competitive in the job market. This is especially true for medical professionals who work in a fast-paced environment.
IAEA Deputy Director General for Nuclear Sciences and Applications, Mohamad Daud, expressed these thoughts at the opening of the side event on Learning on the Go - Mobile eLearning Modules for Radiation Medicine and Nutrition Specialists. His statement reflected the importance of the training courses provided by the IAEA's Division of Human Health through its online portal called the Human Health Campus. At the opening of a side event that took place on 20 September 2012, in the margins of the General Conference, Mr. Daud voiced his appreciation for this mobile learning (mLearning) initiative.
The side event was held to showcase the progress made by the Human Health Division in using mobile learning for radiation medicine and nutrition. Rethy Chhem, Director of the IAEA Division of Human Health, and Maurizio Dondi, Head of the Nuclear Medicine and Diagnostic Imaging Section, detailed the Division's initiative in this area, and showed progress made so far in introducing the eLearning and mLearning platforms for radiation medicine and nutrition.
"The main goal of the mLearning platform was to provide better accessibility for developing countries," Mr. Dondi said. At the event, IT and learning professionals from the Division demonstrate how the mLearning platform works.
From eLearning to mLearning
The Human Health Campus has been delivering training for radiation medicine and nutrition professionals since the official introduction of the online training programme, in October 2010. Access to training materials is free and available to anyone connected to the Internet on a computer or a mobile device. It is mostly aimed to provide training for radiation medicine and nutrition students and professionals worldwide.
Since the penetration of the Internet is lower than the use of mobile devices in developing countries, the division launched the mobile learning programme in October 2011 to increase access to learners from these regions. The mLearning platform is available on smart phones and tablets and can also be used offline. Since its launch, the number of visitors to the Human Health Campus has more than doubled.
Rethy Chhem, Director of the Division for Human Health, attributes the success of the project to the excellent collaboration between three groups of professionals.
"This project was successful because of the collaboration of experts in radiation medicine education and in IT. They focused on providing the best quality materials, and made them as accessible as possible to the learners."
"The education specialists made sure that the teaching materials are up to the highest educational standards, the radiation medicine and nutrition experts provided the content and the IT specialists assisted the Division with the technical implementation of the platform," Mr. Chhem added.
In the two years since the launch of the programme, 42 000 radiation medicine professionals have accessed the training platform, with an average of some 3 500 users per month. The training courses are especially popular in India, the Philippines and Brazil, as well as in the United States and Germany.
After eLearning and mLearning, the Human Health Division plans to provide interactive training modules to improve the learning experience of its users. On 21 August 2012, the Human Health Campus hosted a Webinar on Radiation Medicine. Over 250 participants from 43 countries joined the online Seminar and had the opportunity to interact with the trainer. For the future, the Division also plans to use social media for education, to make sure that the most effective learning is achieved.