Healthcare Professional Roles: The Ontology Model for E-Learning

Lorraine Carmody, Elizabeth Sherry & John Cardiff

Institute of Technology, Tallaght

The paper aims to present the MEDeLEARN project, an ontology-driven Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) for Medical Information System training. The current training environment for healthcare professionals in the use of essential medical information systems in a large urban hospital is based on conventional instructor-led training sessions. Problems arise due to the demanding nature of the hospital working environment, causing training to be cancelled or curtailed. This mode of training delivery is deemed to be inefficient and ineffective, with the danger of serious errors occurring as a consequence.
The project investigates whether a VLE can address the competency gap that exists in the training of healthcare professionals in the use of medical information systems. It explores the role of andragogy (adult learning) in the design and development of reusable SCORM conformant Learning Objects (LOs) for this medical domain. The system architecture of the MEDeLEARN system comprises the competency model (an ontology) and a content repository composed of metadata and learning objects.
The current work-in-progress is focused on conducting one-to-one interviews with healthcare professionals to establish user needs analysis for the following categories of requirements:  current training materials, deficits noted, roles and responsibilities, current competencies and competency gaps. A mapping from the user needs analysis provides the data structure for the Competency Ontology. This ontological structure in turn provides the framework for personal learning paths supported by the Learning Objects under development.
The study affords a novel approach to eLearning development and deployment in its construction of an ontological framework for personalised learning in the healthcare profession that promises to be mappable to other learning domains.

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