BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Northwestern Health Sciences University has implemented two key objectives in an ongoing research education project. The research project is a collaborative effort between Northwestern and the University of Minnesota, focused on integrating research into the practice of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
Starting in the Summer 2009 term, a new class was added to the curriculum for students in all academic programs. The new course, Foundations of Evidence-Informed Practice, includes 22 interactive online learning modules, which were created as part of the CAM education project. The modules will eventually be available through continuing education to field clinicians, and possibly to other educational institutions.
The modules, or reusable learning objects (RLOs), were designed as individual modules that can stand alone to be used outside the evidence-informed practice course, and independent of other RLOs. The RLOs were also designed to include interactive exercises, a feature that is not often included in online tools.
Roni Evans, DC, MS, Dean of Research at Northwestern's Wolfe-Harris Center for Clinical Studies, is leading the project along with along with Mary Jo Kreitzer, PhD, RN, Director of the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota. According to Dr. Evans, a multi-disciplinary team spent close to one year creating and developing the tool.
The result is a high-quality, professional online learning product. "To my knowledge," said Dr. Evans, "it's the first of its kind." No other products are known to take an evidence-informed practice approach, incorporating principles that will be useful to clinicians, according to Dr. Evans.
The next objective is to make the RLOs available to field clinicians, through continuing education. The agency funding the project is also expecting that a plan will be developed to share the modules with other educational institutions.
Dr. Evans is pleased with the final product. "It is a good use of technology, and a good adaptation to how students are learning today."
Northwestern Health Sciences University offers a wide array of choices in natural health care education including chiropractic, Oriental medicine, acupuncture, therapeutic massage and human biology. The University has nearly 900 students on a 25-acre campus in Bloomington, Minnesota.