Triggered by the pandemic, the need for online and blended versions of our courses became obvious. Many AO Trauma task forces created recommendations and templates for delivering the curricula in new formats to help chairpersons respond to this need.
Blended courses are educational events that combine an online component (typically live or recorded lectures and case discussions) with a face-to-face, on-site component (practical exercises and other teaching methods). This allows for shorter face-to-face, on-site time, often allowing organizers to accommodate two smaller groups of participants in the period of a regular course in order to adhere to current local regulations. The online component can be delivered through self-directed (asynchronous) activities such as recorded lectures or in synchronous, live online sessions.
The AO Trauma Education Commission offered each task force the opportunity to help implement online and blended program templates to offer in all regions in 2021:
These blended courses are not foreseen to replace AO Trauma’s face-to-face, on-site events, but to serve as another way of delivering education. Data will be gathered from all events and AO Trauma invites chairpersons to share their experiences and feedback. This feedback will be used to let the task forces and colleagues in other clinical divisions know what worked very well and what could be done differently.
The task forces selected the core and optional curriculum content appropriate to the delivery methods, dedicating most of the face-to-face, on-site time to the core practical exercises without compromising the learning objectives. Feedback from locally and regionally initiated online offerings was considered in the design of event formats in order to meet current needs and ensure sustainability even after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most templates provide flexibility in the delivery of the online components, taking local requirements such as language and resource availability into account. Courses following the templates for blended courses qualify for the competency-based curriculum stamp. The education taskforce members and regional program contributors may be available as online faculty to support the events.
The AO Trauma Course—Basic Principles of Fractures Management was one of the first courses delivered in a blended format in several countries. Participant feedback is very encouraging, and postcourse evaluations show ratings on impact and satisfaction equal to those of traditional courses.
“Our blended principles courses went very well, with huge excitement, engagement, and excellent feedback from both participants and faculty,” says Yazan Hattar, education chairperson for Jordan, after that country’s blended basic and advanced principles courses. “The prerecorded material was excellent and allowed us to remove a lot of lectures from the online live part so we could increase the time for small group discussions. In the small group discussions, the online format really shines.”
The new templates have been added to the faculty support packages.
Templates and/or guidelines are available for the following courses and curricula:
The templates and/or guidelines for lower extremity, hand and wrist, and foot and ankle will be available soon.