Mass online training of health care workers during COVID-19: approach, impact, and outcomes for over 10,000 health care providers

A. Latif, M. Zaki, H. Shahbaz, S. A. Hussain, A. A. Daudpota, B. Imtiaz, F. Asghar, M. M. Hassan, M. A. Asghar, M. Aqeel, M. F. Khan, R. Khan, F. Mahmood, S. Nawab, A. Sabeen, M. Sohaib, S. F. Sultan, M. Tariq, H. Thawer, N. AliM. Jawwad, K. Niazi, A. A. Noorali, S. K. Amin, H. Atiq, Z. Samad, A. H. Haider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: COVID-19 revealed major shortfalls in healthcare workers (HCWs) trained in acute and critical care worldwide, especially in low-resource settings. We aimed to assess mass online courses’ efficacy in preparing HCWs to manage COVID-19 patients and to determine whether rapidly deployed e-learning can enhance their knowledge and confidence during a pandemic. Study design: Retrospective cohort study. Methods: This international retrospective cohort study, led by a large Academic Medical Centre (AMC), was conducted via YouTube and the AMC's online learning platform. From 2020 to 2021, multidisciplinary experts developed and deployed six online training courses based on the latest evidence-based management guidelines. Participants were selected through a voluntary sample following an electronic campaign. Training outcomes were assessed using pre-and post-test questionnaires, evaluation forms, and post-training assessment surveys. Kirkpatrick's Model guided training evaluation to measure self-reported knowledge, clinical skills, and confidence improvement. We also captured the number and type of COVID-19 patients managed by HCWs after the trainings. Results: Every 22.8 reach/impression and every 1.2 engagements led to a course registration. The 10,425 registrants (56.8% female, 43.1% male) represented 584 medical facilities across 154 cities. The largest segments of participants were students/interns (20.6%) and medical officers (13.4%). Of the 2169 registered participants in courses with tests, 66.9% completed post-tests. Test scores from all courses increased from the initial baseline to subsequent improvement post-course. Participants completing post-training assessment surveys reported that the online courses improved their knowledge and clinical skills (83.5%) and confidence (89.4%). Respondents managed over 19,720 COVID-19 patients after attending the courses, with 47.7% patients being moderately/severely ill. Conclusions: Participants' confidence in handling COVID-19 patients is increased by rapidly deploying mass training to a substantial target population through digital tools. The findings present a virtual education and assessment model that can be leveraged for future global public health issues, and estimates for future electronic campaigns to target.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-200
Number of pages8
JournalPublic Health
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2024


  • COVID-19
  • Critical care
  • Disaster management
  • E-Learning
  • Massive online open courses
  • Medical education
  • Online education
  • Public health


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