What is a ‘distributed model of learning’?
The UBC MOT Program’s fully distributed model of learning uses technology that allows instructors and students to interact in real-time at multiple locations.
As part of this model, all MOT students complete the same curriculum at the same time, in the same sequence, with the same points of evaluation.
Distributed learning is a well-established model used by health profession programs across the country. There are significant advantages to the distributed learning including:
- access to expertise from across the province;
- learning through both an urban and rural lens;
- smaller class sizes;
- unique placement opportunities in northern and rural regions and with special populations.
The MOT Program successfully ran a 3-week pilot test in June 2022 to test technology and to identify optimal teaching methods between sites.
In addition to having full-time technical and classroom support staff at every site for every lecture and lab, instructors are trained to teach in online and face-to-face formats. The student experience is designed to be similar to traditional non-distributed classroom learning, but with the added benefits as noted above.
How is the program delivered?
The MOT Program is delivered using an advanced system of high-definition videoconferencing technology.
- Classes may be delivered from distributed sites based on where the instructor who is teaching the class is located.
- Students from all sites are able to ask instructors questions and interact with each other in real time through video conferencing equipment.
- There are numerous microphones on student desks located throughout the class at every site – allowing for ease of interaction between sites.
Clinical skills or classes that require group work are delivered by local faculty, instructors and teaching assistants.
Typically, these are practicing healthcare professionals, consumers of health care, or loved ones of those receiving health care within the community. This blended approach to education and training applies across the program and augments the diversity of feedback and learner exposure to different perspectives.
Instructor(s) or teaching assistants are available at each site. The ratio of instructors and teaching assistants to students will change depending on the learning methods and activities, equipment demands and supply needs, with a minimum of one teaching support for each site.
How are classes organized?
The majority of the content will be delivered through distributed learning technologies. In courses with a greater emphasis on clinical skills and experiential learning, the format will often be similar to the following:
- A lecture will be delivered via video-conferencing.
- Sites will move into small groups to practice skills learned with in-person instructors and teaching assistants.
- All sites will return to video-conferencing to discuss questions / receive additional lecture content.
Classes will be structured in the same way at all the sites, including content and the sequence of a class/lab session, the materials and equipment available, learning resources, and access to educators.
All lectures will be streamed so that students experience the same content/learning regardless of location.
With regard to skills classes and lab sessions, all sites will have the same exceptionally high-quality of instruction/teaching. The instructor or teaching assistant to student ratio will be equal (for example, if there are four teaching assistants for the 64 students in the Vancouver cohort, this 16:1 ratio will be the same at all sites).
How are students evaluated?
Evaluation of assignments, examinations, demonstrations and all other points of evaluation will have the following characteristics:
- students will be assessed the same way, regardless of location
- the teaching team (the educators and evaluators across sites) for all content in the curriculum will share evaluation of students across sites, such that students will receive feedback from a variety of educators from across the province
- clinical skills evaluations will be delivered in person, not via video conference
- informal clinical skills assessment and learning will be delivered in person