7 February 2023: Course Design: The Paediatric Physical Examination Skills (PPES) online course at the University of the Witwatersrand

Date and Time: Tuesday, 7th February 2023, 2:00pm – 3:00pm SAST

Session Lead: 

  • Dr. Sanjay Lala, Associate Professor, Paediatrician and clinical tutor, University of the Witwatersrand
  • Dr Ann George, University of the Witwatersrand

Session Description:  

The Paediatric Physical Examination Skills (PPES) course is an online course which won a Teaching and Learning Award at Wits University in 2022.  It is designed for use in a blended learning programme to facilitate the acquisition of paediatric clinical examination skills by undergraduate medical students. The content reflects the teaching methods of two experienced clinical tutors, and offers learners a proven and structured method to acquire mastery in clinical examination skills.  The course focuses on teaching difficult concepts that learners commonly encounter when they examine children by using evidence-based learning methods to deliver the content in manageable sections that can easily be completed during their clinical rotations.

The course is specifically designed for use in low to middle income resource settings in Southern Africa. In these settings, large groups of undergraduate students are taught in overcrowded and noisy hospital wards and clinical settings where it is difficult to learn effectively. Because much of the teaching in the course is through direct instruction, many components of traditional bedside teaching can be taught effectively and efficiently in the online course. This provides the students with more independent opportunities to learn and practise their clinical skills, and allows tutors to engage with smaller student groups and provide immediate feedback to learners. The course enables the teaching of expert clinical tutors to reach a wide audience.

To join this session please sign up via Zoom here

Session Lead:  

Dr Sanjay Lala is a paediatrician who has been in clinical practice for over thirty years, having worked in a wide array of public health care settings in South Africa and England, including a substantial term of service in a rural hospital. He is an Associate Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and a paediatric gastroenterology subspecialist. Until January 2023, he was Head of Clinical Unit at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital. He is currently co-ordinating the development of a blended learning programme for medical students at Wits University. He has research expertise in clinical paediatrics, and molecular and cellular biology. His research interests are in childhood infectious disease, especially childhood TB and Group B streptococcal disease; inflammatory bowel disease; and paediatric medical educational. Sanjay is the principal convenor for the newly instituted national Part II College of Paediatricians written MCQ exams since its introduction in 2018, and has developed curricula and syllabi for several undergraduate paediatric courses, including the first paediatric online blending course at Wits University. This course – which has been the basis of the Wits Vice Chancellor’s Team-Teaching 2022 Award – has been distributed to other South African and African universities, and is the subject of this talk.

Dr. Ann George is an educationalist with more than 30 years of teaching experience.She holds a BSc (cum laude) (1986), a BSc Honours degree in cytogenetics (1992), and a PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand (2014). She joined the Centre for Health Science Education at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in 2016, as a Senior Lecturer: Curriculum and Faculty Development. 

Ann was awarded two National Research Foundation Thuthuka grants for projects focusing on digital learning in health professions education (2017-2019 and 2020-2022). She currently holds a Competitive Support for Unrated Researchers grant. Her research into the effective use of educational technology to improve health professions education, focusing on designing learning interactions that promote meaningful learning is informed by a design-based research (DBR) framework. DBR involves an iterative process of developing solutions to complex educational problems by empirical investigation in tandem with efforts to reveal and enhance theoretical understanding.

Ann is a fellow on the Female Academic Leaders Fellowship (2021-2022), and a member of the Southern African Association of Health Educationalists (SAAHE) and the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE). She is an associate editor for the journal Human Resources for Health and has published in several international journals. Ann is the secretary of the organising committee of the SAAHE Health Professions Education Research Significant Interest Group and serves on Wits University’s Professionalism and Ethics Committee. Ann began working on the PPES course in 2016 as an education researcher and consultant, and is the first author on two of the three articles emanating from the project. 

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