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Health Educ Res. 2013 Apr;28(2):276-87. doi: 10.1093/her/cys098. Epub 2012 Sep 17.

Developing web-based training for public health practitioners: what can we learn from a review of five disciplines?

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Prevention Research Center in St. Louis, Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


During a time when governmental funding, resources and staff are decreasing and travel restrictions are increasing, attention to efficient methods of public health workforce training is essential. A literature review was conducted to inform the development and delivery of web-based trainings for public health practitioners. Literature was gathered and summarized from five disciplines: Information Technology, Health, Education, Business and Communications, following five research themes: benefits, barriers, retention, promotion and evaluation. As a result, a total of 138 articles relevant to web-based training design and implementation were identified. Key recommendations emerged, including the need to conduct formative research and evaluation, provide clear design and layout, concise content, interactivity, technical support, marketing and promotion and incentives. We conclude that there is limited application of web-based training in public health. This review offers an opportunity to learn from other disciplines. Web-based training methods may prove to be a key training strategy for reaching our public health workforce in the environment of limited resources.

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