Blog posts

Citizen engagement via digital learning

On my way back to London following two days of workshops at the European Scientific Institute meeting with Professor Philippe Sabatier and colleagues from the Grantham Institute to discuss new MOOCs produced by EIT Health focused on the intersection of Big Data and Health and Climate Change and Public Health.

We had a very productive couple of days, examining target audience and course themes for both modules. We will now share the outputs with the broad team of collaborators including partners from EIT Digital, EIT Climate KIC and the University of Eindhoven. Production will begin in France in August, with the course launch targeted for November.

Vision vs needs – software design in healthcare

Had an interesting discussion a few days ago with someone concerning the differences between implementing solutions in healthcare from other sectors. Some software engineers often argue that development issues are similar market to market and that it is possible to create conceptual issues into common usage patterns to manage. While for many aspects of software management I think this is true, I do also believe there are particular nuances to healthcare that are unique. Data confidentiality, rigour in providing an accessible and extensible data sets for research and changing policy perspectives make healthcare data solutions complex because of the need to design to address often conflicting stakeholder priorities and the need for precision in information assets that can impact the clinical management of patients.

Star Wars

  • The two most influential series of movies on my childhood, and my subsequent aspirations to become a scientist, were Star Trek and Star Wars. Today I will focus on the latter, as a small way of paying personal tribute to Carrie Fisher.

When I was a kid growing up in the 80s, I watched the Star Wars trilogy over and over and over again. For me and so many kids growing up, Star Wars was a source of adventure, curiosity and intrigue about space, time and the universe, inspiring visions about worlds beyond our own. “The force” and the battles against the empire served as an early exploration of grappling with concepts of truth and justice and even putting this all aside for the moment while entertaining a cynic’s view on the value of this cultural phenomenon; it was also great fun.

IDEA – 2016 Research Summary

The Instructional Design in eLearning Applications (IDEA) Team @ the Global eHealth Unit has had an outstanding year. Our projects ranged from analysing healthcare MOOC effectiveness, blended learning action research and using acquired evidence in implementations of online learning.

2016 Achievements

Funder: NHS England Sustainable Improvement Team

Project: Evaluation of the Improvement FUNdamentals MOOC

Summary: Improvement FUNdamentals was delivered through a connectivist MOOC instructional design; the emphasis on peer learning saw the participants engaged through Twitter, discussion forums and Google Hangouts to encourage learners to share knowledge and experience, with the aim of creating an international network of quality improvers. The Global eHealth Unit at Imperial College London was selected to conduct an evaluation of the two cohorts to discern the impact of the course, means of engagement and networking aspects.

Fact check

I haven’t been able to exit the US election intense news cycle. When not spending time considering digital innovation, systems design and ways to change education delivery, I spend a good bit of my fair time contemplating politics. Mainly because I do believe we are now in interesting political times, considering Britain’s exit from the EU, America’s president-elect and the global state of international affairs. No matter what my opinion may be on any of these issues, there is so much in processing all of this – missing writing about this would be an omission.

Which takes me to a topic for today.


The team has been having several discussions over the last couple of weeks on means to create long-term engagement on technology. Specifically, this has been within the context of MOOCs, though this week we have been discussing projects focused on the used of apps and how to ensure that consumers use these devices on a consistent basis. My experience with both mirrors a lot of the current evidence, with peaks at the onset of use and then a sharp drop off of interest and use after a short period.

There are many ways of creating ongoing engagement, for example, nudges, personalisation, gamification, although the key issue in design becomes one of experimentation to ascertain what will work best.