Poster Presentation Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia 2015

Expanding possibilities in blended learning: Scaffolding traditional professional leadership development using a MOOC (#315)

Joanne Travaglia 1 , Lesley Halliday
  1. School of Public Health & Community Medicine, UNSW Australia, Sydney

Abstract Content (up to 300 words recommended)


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) represent the latest evolution of online education, building on the active engagement of diverse, globally located students, connected by common interests, but with a broad range of prior knowledge and academic skills, and diverse learning goals. The Health Leadership MOOC provided an opportunity to enrich and scaffold traditionally delivered health leadership programs in healthcare organisations by offering flexible education capitalising on a unique non-hierarchical learning environment.1


In response to the call to move from traditional, highly structured and closed group courses to open networks of self-directed learners2 we used a MOOC as an opportunity to enhance learning both in a University-based leadership awarded course and in non-award workplace based study groups. The aim was to capitalise on the learning tools and experiences offered by the MOOCs to foster an experiential, blended learning environment for classroom and workplace based students.3


We evaluated the MOOC as an adaptive resource that can supplement and scaffold traditional approaches to leadership development by introducing a flexible approach to online study, and access to a global learning community that fosters broad perspectives on health leadership challenges. These perspectives can then be consolidated through traditional classroom sessions or workshops to allow development of novel and locally applicable solutions to health leadership challenges.

Addressing the theme/s of the Conference (up to 200 words recommended)


This theme is addressed by demonstrating how MOOCs can facilitate collaboration and problem solving across countries, sites and services. MOOCs provide an opportunity to break down the borders between university and workplace based learning, and between professionals across countries and service types.

Learners are exposed to real-life, real-time global challenges which are deconstructed in their face-to-face sessions. This type of process fosters personal and professional reflection, broadens knowledge and perspectives of industry dilemmas and current responses, and enhances professional capabilities, including critical thinking and the application of theory into practice. 

  1. Mackness, J., Mak, S., & Williams, R. (2010). The ideals and reality of participating in a MOOC.
  2. MacPhee, M., Chang, L., Lee, D., & Spiri, W. (2013). Global health care leadership development: Trends to consider. Journal of Healthcare Leadership,5, 21-29.
  3. Bruff, D. O., Fisher, D. H., McEwen, K. E., & Smith, B. E. (2013). Wrapping a MOOC: Student perceptions of an experiment in blended learning. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9(2), 187-199.