Evidence-based practice: a mind-altering substance. A blended learning course teaching information literacy for substance use prevention work.

Brian Galvin
2011, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 65-88

Abstract


Purpose:  This paper describes the rationale and philosophy behind the development of a blended learning course for allied health professionals working in the field of substance use prevention and the results of an evaluation of the pilot course.
The course teaches a range of information literacy skills in order to increase the participants’ knowledge of evidence-based practice and enable them to pursue an evidence-based approach in their professional work. The course Evidence-based Substance Use Prevention and Education Practice was developed and delivered by the National Documentation Centre on Drug Use (NDC), a special substance-use research library in Ireland, where the author works. The NDC is part of a drug and alcohol research unit, comprising epidemiologists, social researchers and statisticians. This unit is based in an Irish Government agency called the Health Research Board (HRB).
Method: Data required for the evaluation of the pilot course were obtained from responses by participants to pre- and post-course questionnaires and from a focus group of some of those who completed the course.
Findings: The course was established on the premise that the effective transfer of scientific knowledge in the field of problem drug use requires that practitioners develop information literacy skills to enable them to understand the principles of evidence-based practice. The findings of the course evaluation suggest that blended learning course in evidence-based practice is an effective way to teach these skills and promote an evidence-based approach to practice in this area.
Originality: Developing information literacy skills is a key part of the inculcation of evidence-based principles in medical education and in the education of allied health professionals. The teaching of information literacy skills to students involved in health-related education has been studied extensively. The course described in this paper builds on the evidence provided by the literature and applies the principles of information literacy teaching in a setting of continuing professional development. In terms of its scope, target audience and objectives, the course is unique and the insights obtained from the delivery of the course and its evaluation form a useful and original contribution to research in this area.

Keywords


evidence-based practice, e-learning, online learning, virtual learning environment, continuing professional development

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