By: Jessica Swann, Director of Partnerships for Education

As TechChange’s new Director of Partnerships for Education, I have been in learning mode this week at the Global Digital Health Forum, catching up on what my peers and new coworkers have been working on in this vital and fast-moving space. 

In preparing for the conference, I dove into TechChange’s wealth of materials within the Digital Health space, and I want to share an animated video that caught my eye as a high-quality, easy to understand instructional aide: “Standards and Interoperability in Digital Health: Explained.” It really helped me to understand these complicated concepts.

I’m an education generalist, with a rather eclectic range of experiences. Yet across all my previous roles, whether I’ve been writing about in-depth topics on database administration, or leading a program to strengthen capacity for virtual teaching amongst university lecturers from the Peruvian Public Sector, I’ve seen the importance time and time again of distilling complex concepts into digestible, engaging educational assets. This video is a great example of that – the clear narration, illustrative graphics, and storytelling bring these digital health concepts to life. 

Storytelling to illustrate real-life problems

The video takes us to the fictional country of Onesa, where the government is implementing a national vaccination campaign. We meet Lucy, the National Immunization Officer, and Isaac, a health officer from one of the more rural districts. They share a goal of vaccinating children against disease, but are quickly faced with challenges that arise from multiple systems tracking key pieces of information such as the number of children who need to be vaccinated and the number of vaccines that are available. 

This is exactly the kind of dilemma faced by healthcare leaders in countries around the world as they struggle to manage resources effectively.

Lucy and Isaac consider integrating the systems manually, but this quickly becomes too complex and costly to manage. Lucy has a whole country to manage for the immunization campaign, and Isaac has the other health issues in his district to consider. They can’t afford to spend all their time doing manual, error-prone integration. The systems need to talk to each other in a way that’s efficient and cost-effective. 

Enter the concept of interoperability. 

What is ‘interoperability’ anyway?

Interoperability is the ability for multiple applications to communicate with one another by accessing, exchanging, and making use of data in a coordinated manner.

In the context of digital health, this means that health information systems like OpenIMS and DHIS2 can communicate directly and exchange data. As the video does a great job of explaining, standards help to achieve this. 

What are the different kinds of standards?

The video shows us that there are two different sets of standards to consider for interoperability:

Semantic standards – that help applications establish a common vocabulary; and 

Syntactic standards – that allow applications to share a common grammar to communicate meaning. 

It’s amazing how much this sounds like language acquisition! In order to communicate and share information, systems have to have to understand the words and ways of putting them together…just like people. 

We tackle interoperability in our Architects of Digital Health board game

Countries can invest in a health information exchange, which is enterprise architecture that bundles all digital health applications together to provide guidance to software developers on how to manage interoperability between them. It stores lists of terms and concepts, and maps how they relate to each other. Kind of like the Rosetta Stone of digital health tools. 

These terms can sound abstract, but in practice, standards and interoperability of digital health systems help save lives. Careful, systematic implementation of these concepts allows policymakers and decision makers to see population-level trends and make time-sensitive decisions that impact the lives in every locality, in every age group, and at each point in the health journey. 

Accessible knowledge for all

So there you have it, interoperability in a nutshell. And you don’t need to be a software developer or digital health expert to understand the importance of this concept. 

I love that the video makes it easy to understand the stakes and goals of digital health applications and makes simple the complex concept of interoperability. 

In my role, I get to work with our partners to develop assets just like this, which can help explain complicated concepts and share knowledge across diverse learner communities. Indeed, at this very moment, we’re working with IFAD on creating a digital agriculture course, to help policy makers and extension workers understand how concepts like interoperability have a role to play in the design and application of agriculture and environmental policy. 

You see, standards and interoperability are just as important within digital agriculture as they are within digital health. Systems need to communicate with each other in order to help stakeholders manage information and make timely, evidence-based decisions to maximize yields and get food products to market. 

I’m looking forward to flexing TechChange’s amazing creative skills and instructional design muscles now and into the future, creating new videos and other web-based educational tools to help our partners to communicate all manner of complex ideas in ingeniously simple ways, and seeing the impact of this work in their programs.  

This video was created by TechChange as a part of the Digital Health: Planning National Systems Course to support the training on standards and interoperability, funded by Digital Square, a PATH-led initiative funded and designed by the United States Agency for International Development, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and a consortium of other investors. 

Unreliable and slow internet continues to be one of the greatest obstacles for delivering effective eLearning. Not surprising, right? After all, the whole point of online learning is that it is done online.

According to the report prepared by the International Telecommunications Union in 2016, 95% of the world’s population lives in areas that are covered by a 2G cellular network and an estimated 3.8 billion people do not have any access to the internet.

It is essential that we are incorporating new ways to ensure that all learners, regardless of their ability to connect, have the opportunity to learn.

Enter: Google Chrome. Chrome’s DevTools Network Emulator makes it easy for us to test out how our online material will perform in low bandwidth settings. You can choose between a variety of presets – including fast 3G and slow 2G – and even add your own custom settings.

Want to see it in action? Let’s see how TechChange’s newest course, TC 101: How to Teach Online, works in a few different network conditions.


Fast 3G

The course content loads relatively quickly at this speed and the YouTube video appears immediately. The video and interactive slide do not buffer and overall, the course experience feels the same on Fast 3G as it does on our office’s Ethernet.


Slow 3G

There is definitely a noticeable difference between Fast 3G and Slow 3G. The slower connection requires a little more time to load the modules and static content and the YouTube video requires some buffering.


Regular 2G

Like the Slow 3G, the Regular 2G connection requires additional time for loading the course modules and content. The main noticeable difference here is the amount of time that it takes for the YouTube video to load and buffer.

In all, it looks like the TechChange platform performs reasonably well in lower bandwidth settings. Static content loads easily, while interactive slides, YouTube videos, and larger images tend to take longer.

Give your own course a try! For detailed instructions on how to set this up, check out this article.

Written by Danielle Peterson 

As companies increasingly move towards online learning for their training needs, building local and internal e-learning capacity is more important than ever. This was TechChange’s ultimate goal in their trip to El Salvador in 2018. Returning to DC, TechChange faced its next challenge: How can we continue to build capacity with our partners from a distance?

TechChange’s approach has been a mix of remote training sessions and template development. With the help of local translators, TechChange has led two remote training sessions that delved deeper into Articulate Storyline and Adobe InDesign.

In these workshops, we included demonstrations and various design exercises to help the workshop attendees become more comfortable with the software. We guided them through creating their own examples and provided feedback along the way. After completing these two sessions, the workshop attendees left having developed fundamental Articulate Storyline and Adobe InDesign skills and have taken their first steps in becoming their organization’s leaders in online learning.

TechChange also developed course avatars and Articulate Storyline and Adobe Indesign templates for the team to practice with and create their own training materials. With remote training and documentation, the e-learning team is able to adapt the resources to future projects as they see fit. See some examples of their work below! Discover the review of Spyzie spy app that is compatible on Android, iOS, tablet and PC phones. Read the reviews on before you buy!


At TechChange, we aim to empower our partners with the tools and resources needed to create sustainable and cost-effective solutions through online learning. We can’t wait to see how DAI will apply all they’ve learned to their goal of promoting transparent government and development in El Salvador.

What does it take to create an engaging, online learning experience? TechChange aimed to answer this question in their trip to El Salvador in 2018. The team, in partnership with USAID Domestic Resource Mobilization Project implemented by DAI, traveled to the country’s capital San Salvador to deliver a two-day workshop for government officials working to build up their local eLearning capacity.

The workshop, entitled “The Fundamentals of Online Learning,” focused on the TechChange model for designing self-paced content, leading participants through the steps in our project life cycle – from the kickoff to the finalization and everything in between.

Our team began the workshop by presenting the basic theory behind our instructional design process, sharing our templates for effective scripting and storyboarding, and moved on to introducing two industry standard tools for authoring courses – Camtasia 9 and Articulate 360 – and our best practices for using this software.

Participants integrate Camtasia screencasts into their Articulate file.

Throughout the two day workshop, participants shared the training challenges that they were facing in their daily work and used them as real-life case studies for the group. We used these challenges as inspiration for the final project and asked the participants to separate into teams and create their own short, self-paced Articulate learning solutions, complete with a script, storyboard, narration, images, and interactions.

Teammates work together to develop a self-paced Articulate project.

A lively round of presentations and applause finished out the workshop and each participant received a signed certificate of completion. The participants hope to use their eLearning skills to promote transparent government and development and create educational resources for all Salvadoran citizens.


While online learning has quickly advanced as a capacity building solution in the international development space, connectivity challenges continue to plague program implementation. For impact areas struggling with low- or no-bandwidth learning environments, the solution still requires physical travel of trainers to reach the desired intended audience. However, as we’ve reported repeatedly over the last seven years, including with offline-first delivery of Malaria training in Uganda and Nigeria, offline doesn’t have to mean old-school.

For example, TechChange recently partnered with Jhpiego to deliver a landmark course on Maternal and Child Survival Program in Liberia, which provided a blended and offline approach to training over a five-month period. In this post, we’ll share more about how this was accomplished from a technical perspective when it comes to building in Articulate 360. For those unfamiliar with Articulate, it serves as the primary rapid-authoring tool for building courses that can work on any major online learning platform….or even no platform at all! There are five key steps to success:

Step One: Replace Absolute Links with Relative Paths

Publishing Articulates for offline use often means creating a lot of relative paths, which involves a lot of files looking for other files within folders. So, what if you have a large project with many folders (and other Articulate files) linked up by relative paths, but want to deliver a single course file to the client that runs correctly and still “understands” where to find what it needs along its relative paths?

Here’s where Windows shortcuts come in handy. What you’ll need to do is 1) Place all linked Articulate files and documents in a single folder, which you then hide in the delivery folder, and 2) create a shortcut for the course launch file.

Because Windows shortcuts in their default form use absolute paths, you’ll need to make an adjustment to the shortcut in order to have it run on a relative path. The reason why is that absolute paths look for a file starting with the C:// drive of the computer that created the file — so, if you were to deliver an absolute shortcut to a client, the pathway would look for a file on your C:// drive, instead of looking for a file relative to its position in a folder. The beauty of relative paths is that they operate as they should on any desktop; absolute paths won’t work outside of your own desktop.

Step Two: Place All Files and Documents in a Single Folder

Let’s place all linked Articulate files and documents in a single folder, which you then hide in the delivery folder. We’ll take the example of Jhpiego’s MCSP Faculty Development Program, the most recent usage case. Organizationally, this course had a parent Articulate file, the Faculty Development Program, hereafter referred to as FDP. Any user that opened the FDP Articulate could access any of the module Articulates, which were in three series — the TL, AE, and CP series — thanks to relative paths.

When you open the delivery folder, you see this:



Step Three: Hide Your Work!

Notice that the folder “Modules” is a hidden folder, and wouldn’t normally show. To hide a file, right click on the file, click Properties, check the “Hidden” box, then click OK, applying the change to all folders and subfolders. If you’d like for files you’ve hidden to show again, open up the containing folder, click “View” at the top, and then check the box reading “Hidden items” in the Show/Hide category. The file “CLICK HERE TO LAUNCH COURSE” is our shortcut file with a modified relative path and opens the parent course, FDP. Let’s open up that “Modules” folder.



Here we have each of the module folders that open up separate Articulates within the parent Articulate course, FDP. Those folders (the TL, AE, CP folders) contain all the documents that each module needs as well as that module’s Articulate output. The “Output” folder you see is the Articulate output for the parent course, which our shortcut taps into. Now, how do we make that shortcut? Let’s open that “Output” folder.



Step Four: Take a Shortcut

We’ll need the shortcut to hit “Launch_Story.exe,” so we’ll right-click on that and choose “Create shortcut.” Windows will make the shortcut for you, which you can take anywhere and rename as you like. For now, let’s take that shortcut one folder up, out of the hidden folder and into the delivery folder.



So we’re back here. We’ve renamed our shortcut “CLICK HERE TO LAUNCH COURSE.” Now we need to modify that absolute path into a relative path, so the shortcut knows that no matter what computer it’s on, it needs to go from this folder, into the hidden folder Modules, and into Output to find its “Launch_Story.exe.”

Right-click your new shortcut and choose Properties to modify that path — at the outset, you’ll see this on your screen:


Step Five: It’s All Relative (Paths)

Now, let’s take that absolute path and make it relative. In the “Start in:” field, just delete everything. Then, in the “Target:” field, type in the following, with modifications based on the folder names in your relative path:

%windir%explorer.exe “.Your\Relative\Path\Launch_Story.exe”

The beginning of this should not be in quotes, the only part in quotes is your relative file path. In the case of the FDP course, this would read as follows, since we’re asking the shortcut to look in the same folder at the start for the hidden Modules folder, then telling it to go inside Output to find the Launch_Story.exe for FDP.

%windir%explorer.exe “.Modules\Output\Launch_Story.exe”

Once you click OK, the icon on the shortcut will change to a folder with a small blue square overlaid on it. If you click Properties again to check out that slick relative path, it should look like this:



You’re done! Now any user will just have to double-click on your newly modified shortcut to launch the course!

If you have any questions or comments (or suggestions for things we may not have thought of!), please feel free to contact me and the TechChange team at:

Note: This post was written in collaboration with Erica Chin, Instructional Technologist and Medical Illustrator at Jhpiego.

The instructional design team, led by Director of Instructional Design, Shannon Fineran, is proud to announce the release of a landmark course series designed for the Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP) at Jhpiego in partnership with USAID. The course is currently being piloted among health practitioners from several health care facilities in various regions of Liberia.

Unlike a stand-alone training course, the faculty development program provides a blended approach and a social program delivered over a five-month period. Faculty that participate are offered a supportive environment to build confidence, leadership, change management, and teaching skills. It includes three instructor-led training sessions and two rounds of individualized eLearning course facilitated by a moderated discussion platform for peer support. The individual eLearning course is comprised of 15 modules organized into three sections: Theoretical Learning, Clinical or Practical Learning, and Student Assessment and Program Evaluation. The program is centered around the completion of a change management project relevant to improving educational quality or teaching skills.



The team at Jhpiego’s Technical Leadership Office, led by Julia Bluestone (Health Workforce Team Lead) and supported by Erica Chin (Instructional Technologist and Medical Illustrator) and Alison Trump (Technical Advisor), worked closely with TechChange’s instructional designers to create this engaging, comprehensive course series that utilized interactive content presentations, knowledge exercises, resources, and individual module assessments in each section of the program.

The project posed a series of delivery challenges for the instructional design team. The Faculty Development Program is intended for release in regions of low internet connectivity, prohibiting technical design strategies typically used in a more traditional eLearning course. Because of this, the course was delivered via individual USB drives with the course pre-loaded onto them. Additionally, the course’s intended audience had varying levels of computer literacy and experience with technology. To minimize potential learner confusion, the team created a single main menu to provide direct access to all modules and cohesive course navigation. The main menu, itself a separate Articulate file, included a course module tutorial, as well as “scene selection” style sub-menus for module selection.



TechChange opted for a streamlined course interface design, implementing a static menu on the left side of course slides and recurrent course navigation buttons at the bottom of course slides. The Articulate publishing process was particularly complex for the instructional design team — the course needed to be offered offline, had a complex Articulate-to-Articulate branching scheme, and needed to be launched from the double click of a single button to allow for ease of use. All of these challenges resulted in new discoveries for the team.

Want to learn more about how the team reached a publishing solution? Stay tuned for another blog post on how to use relative linking for offline distribution!

For more information on the MCSP program at Jhpiego, please visit this link.

The TechChange team recently returned to Maputo, Mozambique for the culmination of a two-year long partnership with the Coastal City Adaptation Project (CCAP), a USAID-sponsored program dedicated to preparing Mozambican urban centers for the adverse effects of climate change. The purpose of the trip was to deliver an intensive, three-day technical workshop on eLearning hosting and management in Articulate 360 and JoomlaLMS.

Shannon demonstrates the features of JoomlaLMS.

Our team first traveled to Maputo in January of 2017 to conduct a series of interviews with key stakeholders involved in climate change adaptation efforts around the country. After the trip, we worked closely with the CCAP staff to produce a comprehensive four-module, self-paced course that familiarized users to the science of climate change and its impacts; the fundamentals of adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and resilience. The course was developed with custom assets made by our Creative Team using Articulate Storyline 360 and localized into Mozambican Portuguese.  

Isabel assists a workshop participant with his demo course.

The objective of the workshop was to train the Knowledge Management Center, an organization sponsored by Eduardo Mondlane University, on how to edit and maintain an Articulate Storyline 360 project, and how to host the course online using JoomlaLMS. The team split the three days between teaching the basics of Storyline 360, walking through the best practices of managing an LMS, working through class activities and presentations, and troubleshooting any questions regarding Storyline 360 or JoomlaLMS. By the end of the third day, the majority of participants reported on our post-workshop assessments that they had a firmer grasp on how to manage and maintain an eLearning course.

Throughout the workshop, we captured many images and videos that will be used to support CCAP in their course promotion efforts. CCAP plans to launch the course in early spring and we can’t wait for this unique Portuguese resource to come online!

The TechChange team with the workshop participants.

As we settle into 2018 and launch a variety of new courses, workshops, and ways to innovate our approach to online learning, we’re thankful to you, our TechChange community, for your unwavering support! In the last year, we’ve trained over 7,000 people from 155 countries on our platform alone.

Check out a few of the cool things we were able to do in 2017.

We’ve released new features on our online learning platform!

  • Frontend editing: Course administrators can now type directly into the platform section that you would like to update or add information to. The new inline editing feature means easy access to editing/updating content, a cleaner design, and a direct way to see real-time updates of changes that you’re making to your course content.



  • Completion tracking: Course administrators can now track module completion with our new rules feature. By simply setting “rules” for each slide, submodule, and module, learners will be alerted with a green check mark if they have completed the appropriate section.



  • Progress view: Course administrators can now view the progress of their students holistically with the new progress view. Based upon the rules of each course, the progress view details where students are in relation to course completion, when they were last active, and which modules have been completed.


We’ve developed informative interactive modules!

  • IFC Gender Course: TechChange partnered with IFC (International Finance Corporation) to create a multi-module course on the business case for gender smart solutions. The course is customized with three different industry tracts that users can choose between depending on what is most relevant to their work.
  • Jhpiego MCSP: The Faculty Development Program represents a major accomplishment for the Instructional Design team over the summer and fall seasons. The program is centered around best practices for medical practitioners and is meant to improve educational quality and teaching skills for practitioners in Liberia and beyond.
  • CCAP: TechChange built a self-paced course for the Coastal Cities Adaptation Project of Mozambique that focused on the basics of climate change, adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and urban resilience. The course featured many video interviews (filmed by TC staff) with important stakeholders involved in climate change management in Mozambique.  

We’ve created some beautiful content!

  • Making Cents International Report: An exciting collaboration between the Instructional Design and Creative Teams for The Rockefeller Foundation & Making Cents resulting in a youth-oriented toolkit for demand-driven training. Click here to view the report and here to view the interactive website!
  • DCA animation and pamphlet: USAID’s Development Credit Authority (DCA) uses loan guarantees to increase access to finance and promote growth in developing countries. The creative team was tasked to create multiple short animations to explain how the Development Credit Authority works and its benefits to those in developing countries. Click here to view our whiteboard style explainer video and click here to view our mobilizing local wealth for entrepreneurs around the world animation .
  • DIAL animation: We had the pleasure of working with DIAL (Digital Impact Alliance) to explain the Principles for Digital Development and its importance to the digital development community. The team was tasked with creating a 2 minute explainer animation that is both attractive and informative. Assets and animation was spearheaded by our senior illustrator & animator John Kim. Click here to watch the video.
  • mPowering animation: The Creative Team worked on a beautiful animation for mPowering’s OpenDeliver, a mobile-enabled delivery system for health resources that includes a feedback loop to supply analytics. Click here to watch the video!

We’ve hosted interesting workshops and traveled to many places!

  • Mozambique for CCAP: In January 2017, Shannon, Emily, and John traveled to Maputo and Pemba, Mozambique to record interviews with key stakeholders involved in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction efforts across the country. The interviews were incorporated into the four-module self-paced course built to empower individuals with the fundamentals of climate change, preparedness, and urban resilience.
  • Maine for PopTech: In October, the TechChange team headed to Camden, Maine for the 2017 PopTech Conference: Instigate, where we provided tech support, photography, and conference marketing support.
  • Boston for Connected Health Conference: In October, Chris, Yohan, and Meronne went to Boston, Massachusetts to provide event support with photography and video interviews.
  • Qatar for WISE: Chris and Austin traveled to Doha, Qatar for the World Innovation Summit on Education (WISE Summit) for a series of plenaries and workshops on the future of education.
  • Washington, D.C. for the World Bank Youth Summit: Nick gave an interactive workshop on blockchain for international development.
  • Instructional Design Workshops: Throughout the year at TechChange Headquarters, Isabel lead different instructional design with Articulate 360 workshops. Click here to sign up for the next one!
  • TechGirls 2017: For the fifth year in a row, we’ve had the honor of hosting two brilliant young leaders from the TechGirls State Department program. This year, Passant Abu-el-Gheit and Reem Saado shadowed the various teams hard at work making online courses in the TechChange office, and contributed a few creations of their own. Read the full blog post here!

We’re launching new online courses!

  • TC116 Blockchain for International Development: This four-week online certificate course will attempt to cut through the hype and evaluate the potential of this technology on everything from remittances to supply chain management, voting practices, smart contracts, land titling, educational credentialing, health record storage, and more. Learn about the course here!
  • TC310 The Future of Digital Health: This four-week online certificate course will explore how a range of emerging technologies — blockchain, artificial intelligence, drones, sensors and Internet of things, wearable devices, and more — are contributing to patient care and management, disease tracking, point-of-care support, health education, remote monitoring, diagnostics, supply chain management, and logistics.The course will also take a hard look at complexities surrounding patient privacy and security, limits to access, training and capacity building challenges, interoperability issues, regulation and policy hurdles, and more. Learn about the course here!
  • TC301 Artificial Intelligence for International Development: This four-week online certificate course will cover the basics of artificial intelligence from natural language processing and object differentiation, to comparative facial recognition and more. It will draw from a variety of case studies, particularly in financial services, education, and healthcare. It will also explore challenges to adoption that exist around automation, hype cycles, ethical concerns, security, sustainability, and more. We will also explore machine learning, a narrower subset of AI that focuses on data analysis and building algorithms that reduce the need for human intervention. Learn more about the course here!
  • TC101 Online Learning for International Development: This four-week course will include a number of innovative case studies as well as demos of our favorite emerging technologies to support and enhance learning. Over the past 8 years, TechChange has built 500+ online courses on all kinds of topics for a variety of audiences and in a range of formats. In that time, we have had to contend with every imaginable hurdle: diminished attention spans, bandwidth constraints, translation issues, security challenges, and more. This is why we’ve decided to package all of this experience into an online certificate course. Learn more about the course here!

As we continue to build and create beautiful courses, we’re excited to start licensing our online learning platform to organizations and continue building our expertise in online learning. A recent study on capacity building done by the Global Knowledge Initiative listed TechChange as the number one cited source individuals and organizations used most to improve curriculum design, further teaching pedagogy, develop online modules, and build presentation and facilitation skills. We look forward to continue building our online learning skill sets.

We hope to see you online, in person, or in a course!

In international development, we all love to talk about our successes, but we need to celebrate our failures too. And failures are exactly what we will be celebrating at Fail Fest on Thursday!

As a celebration of failures, the Fail Festival looks at failures as a mark of leadership and innovation, risk-taking and pushing the boundaries of what is possible in scaling ideas from pilots to global programs.

Last year at the Fail Fest, we presented our failures with the TechChange band. We had members across our team perform with vocals, guitar, drums, oboe, and – of course, PowerPoint. We celebrated our failures, from connectivity issues when doing online training sessions on Ebola to unanticipated challenges of moving into a new office.

Fail Fest 2014

TechChange at Fail Fest 2014

We are excited to share our experiences in providing interactive training for social change with all the hurdles that come with it. We had a blast celebrating our failures last year, and we hope to see you at the Fail Fest on Thursday!




It’s not every day that you get up from your desk, walk out of your office, and travel 8,353 miles to check in on a project. But in October that’s exactly what Delanie, Emily, and I did when we went to visit Malaria Consortium in Uganda.

As we walked out the office in Washington D.C., I started a timer on my phone to see what the door-to-door travel time would be. 26 hours later we were in the back of a hired car, dodging the mini-buses that barrel down the road between Entebbe and Kampala.

Why we returned to Kampala
We were in Uganda to check in on one of TechChange’s biggest projects: the “Diagnose and Treat Febrile Illnesses” eLearning course. Last year, we built a course for Malaria Consortium, one of the world’s leading non-profit organizations specializing in the prevention, control, and treatment of malaria. The course was meant to train private sector health workers and Rapid Diagnostic Testing sales representatives in Uganda and Nigeria.

In many malaria-endemic countries like Uganda and Nigeria, the disease has been prevalent for so long that pharmacists and doctors would give malaria treatment to any patient presenting symptoms of fever. Not only is this false diagnosis harmful for the patient, it also leads to the waste of costly treatments that don’t help the patient get better – in fact, their condition could become even more serious. Incorrect diagnoses can even be fatal: pneumonia is the leading cause of death for children under 5 in Sub-Saharan Africa, but it is often misdiagnosed as malaria.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 2.16.19 PM

An e-learning solution to train health workers
The goal of the elearning training is to reach roughly 5000 health professionals in both Uganda and Nigeria and provide in-depth training on how to diagnose diseases that can present fever-like symptoms, like malaria, pneumonia, typhoid, and others. The two-day training provides a hybrid learning experience with off-line elearning modules and in-person trainings, created with local content to make the training as culturally-relevant as possible.

The training teaches healthcare workers the basics of how the malaria parasite works, how to conduct a malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT), how to diagnose patients for other illnesses, and how to provide treatment depending on the results they find.

It’s been a year since the training was implemented, so we were curious to see how the training fared. Was a computer-based training actually useful to trainers? Did students enjoy the training? Were there better learning outcomes?

Training 5

So, how is the training going so far?
We found that even with minor technical considerations, the training was a stunning success! Yes, there were certain drawbacks to having a computer-based training compared to a traditional lecture format. Among the biggest disadvantages were the possibility of power-outages, finding computers with adequate RAM and processing power to play the training, and also updating Adobe Flash (one of the requirements to run the training). However, with the help of an in-country technical setup team, these issues were controllable.

What do the trainers think?
Most importantly, trainers told us that the benefits of the blended learning style far outweighed any drawbacks caused by being dependent on computers. Students and trainers alike told us that the format allowed students to learn the content at their own pace, compared to a lecture where the instructor may move too quickly or slowly through content.

Malaria Consortium

What do the students think?
Students also told us that the interactive format made the learning experience much better than a lecture accompanied by slides. The visual nature of the training came up again and again as an aspect of the training that helped students learn.

Malaria Consortium

Students who had completed the pilot program took the training to heart. One pharmacist referred to the training as she told us about about her neighbor, who had recently come into her shop asking for antimalarials to treat his fever – but, his test result was negative, so she advised him to seek treatment at a health facility. After visiting the clinic, he stopped by the pharmacy to let her know that he had been diagnosed with Typhoid fever; if the pharmacist had misdiagnosed the fever and provided treatment for malaria, it would only have allowed his case of Typhoid to get worse.

This is just one anecdote of many. While concerns about electricity and infrastructure remain very real, it is exciting to see the training accomplishing it’s goals. We are excited to continue supporting and improving the delivery of this training with Malaria Consortium!

Is your organization looking to train your teams online? Besides online facilitated courses, we also also create custom offline computer trainings that can be used in settings where internet connectivity is a non-starter. See our different projects on our Enterprise page and feel free to reach out to us