Blended teaching of clinical skills (optometry)

Blended Learning: 

The training is divided into 7 short course units. Each unit relates to a specific core competency derived from existing ophthalmic speciality competency frameworks that define the knowledge, skills and attributes to undertake extended practice in Medical Retina. Each unit is equivalent to a 1 hour face-to face lecture.

  • Material, activities and recordings centralised on the Moodle module. 
  • Independent learning online with narrated Powerpoints for lecture content 
  • Interactive webinars incorporating case-based discussions. Recordings made available on Moodle 
  • Online quiz as formative assessment to provide ongoing feedback, monitor progress and identify learning needs. 
  • Face to face clinical sessions.  
  • Summative assessment:  a formal accreditation assessment in the form of an online test 

Learners expected to study for 50 notional hours over 3 months. Of these hours approximately 10 deemed contact hours: 7 x 1-hour online lectures, 3 x 1-hour webinars. 

Strength: authentic material and learning

“John’s narrated PowerPoints were really well designed i.e great use of clinical imagery which he then explained” Thomas Hanley, Educational Technologist supporting the project

The Moodle quiz used retinal scans taken from the electronic patient record database at Moorfields Eye Hospital London. Anonymised scans showing disease progression or stabilisation of patients with age-related macular degeneration over multiple clinic were used to assess clinical decision-making.


The synchronous sessions also aimed to provide an authentic experience. They were delievered by an external clinical expert who accessed the clinical database in real time (patient details were anonymised by obscuring part of the screen)


A survey was sent to the course’s participants to obtain their feedback on the content and format. Overall there was very positive feedback from a great majority of respondents with regards to the online content, format and delivery.

How did you feel about studying online as opposed to receiving face to face training? 

Chart of overall satisfaction with online learning

Some takeaways and considerations for your own practice:

“All good, but a development point could be to adapt teaching style for online presentation. [In my opinion] there is no need to read out the PowerPoints, but perhaps highlight certain points. Keep the presentations to under 20 minutes. I’m afraid I was in danger of getting distracted with the longer ones. – Survey respondent

Most survey respondents did not have an issue with only participating in the webinars via chat.

“Text was much better as less interuptions and the audio of the presenter is clearer without everyone else’s microphones enabled” – Survey respondent

Most survey respondents also agreed that it would have been helpful to use discussion forums during and after the training for peer support.

Students on the training were also provided with some guidance on using the features of Adobe Connect for the live sessions


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