Learning interventions and training methods in health emergencies: A scoping review

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  • PONE-D-23-24535R2_FTC (1)

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  • Heini Utunen
    World Health Organization, Geneva
  • Giselle Balaciano
    World Health Organization, Geneva
  • Elham Arabi
    World Health Organization, Geneva
  • Anna Tokar
    World Health Organization, Geneva
  • Aphaluck Bhatiasevi
    World Health Organization, Geneva
  • Jane Noyes
Keeping the health workforce and the public informed about the latest evolving health information during a health emergency is critical to preventing, detecting and responding to infectious disease outbreaks or other health emergencies. Having a well-informed, ready, willing, and skilled workforce and an informed public can help save lives, reduce diseases and suffering, and minimize socio-economic loss in affected communities and countries. Providing “just in time” support and opportunities for learning in health emergencies is much needed for capacity building. In this paper, ‘learning intervention’ refers to the provision of ad-hoc, focused, or personalized training sessions with the goal of preparing the health workers for emergencies or filling specific knowledge or skill gaps. We refer to ‘training methods’ as instructional design strategies used to teach someone the necessary knowledge and skills to perform a task.
We conducted a scoping review to map and better understand what learning interventions and training methods have been used in different types of health emergencies and by whom. Studies were identified using six databases (Pubmed/Medline, Embase, Hinari, WorldCat, CABI and Web of Science) and by consulting with experts. Characteristics of studies were mapped and displayed and major topic areas were identified.
Of the 319 records that were included, contexts most frequently covered were COVID-19, disasters in general, Ebola and wars. Four prominent topic areas were identified: 1) Knowledge acquisition, 2) Emergency plans, 3) Impact of the learning intervention, and 4) Training methods. Much of the evidence was based on observational methods with few trials, which likely reflects the unique context of each health emergency. Evolution of methods was apparent, particularly in virtual learning. Learning during health emergencies appeared to improve knowledge, general management of the situation, quality of life of both trainers and affected population, satisfaction and clinical outcomes
This is the first scoping review to map the evidence, which serves as a first step in developing urgently needed global guidance to further improve the quality and reach of learning interventions and training methods in this context.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS ONE
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 6 Jun 2024
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