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Human Resources Development

GDS staff have pioneered in HRD, notably in skills acquisition. Our twin aims are: 1) efficiency, as measured in direct costs and time lost in patient care, and 2) effectiveness, as determined by rigorous tests of professional competence. Two examples:

Computer-based training

Working with collaborators in CDC and AID/W/Health, GDS staff created one of the first computer-based training programs in primary care. The topic was WHO's Integrated Management of Childhood Illness. The advantages were threefold: 1) Self-pacing, 2) constant and immediate feedback/reinforcement, and 3) the program adjusted the instruction where consistent deficiencies were detected.

Field trials were conducted in Kenya and Uganda. Compared to WHO's conventional in-class IMCI course, the CBT trainees achieved the same scores on competency-based exams, reported higher satisfaction with the experience, were away from their workplace for a shorter period, and the cost per trainee was one-third less.

Distance learning

Distance learning is not new; however, successful distance learning is, sadly, not common. Completion rates rarely exceed 20 percent of initial enrollees.

In Indonesia GDS staff developed a 6-8 week distance learning course in Quality Assurance in collaboration 

with Universitas Terbuka (The Open University) and the MoH.

The course design tapped into two strong preferences of health workers in Indonesia. The first was a preference to work and learn in teams. The second was a universal preference for tangible incentives – in this case a small amount of money if the team as a whole performed well.

The results: Over 90 percent of the eligible health workers – 1,117 – completed the course. A difficult final examination was set and 89 percent passed. The cost per trainee was US$18. This was the most successful distance learning program in Open University’s experience.

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