Evaluating the user experience of Moodle among healthcare professionals in Sub-Saharan Africa

A group of 43 enthusiastic healthcare workers from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Uganda completed the Corona[e]Education minicourse during May 2021. This minicourse was provided as a part of a research project conducted by Camila Cuadrado, a first-year master’s student from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam program: Management, Policy Analysis, and Entrepreneurship in Health & Life Sciences.

Camila was investigating how users located in Sub-Saharan Africa experienced their e-learning with interactive content in the new Moodle platform of Health[e]Foundation. This with the aim to ultimately adopt a user-centered design on the Health[e]Foundation products since these designs are highly associated with the success of e-learning interventions.

During my internship at Health[e]Foundation, I got to develop interactive e-learning content, learn how to customize the Moodle platform, and get to know from first-hand the experiences of Sub-Sharan African healthcare professionals with the e-learning platform and content. It was a challenging process because all the data had to be collected online due to the COVID-19 pandemic and because it was my first time working with Moodle. Nevertheless, this research was rewarding as I could support healthcare professionals with helpful knowledge for the current pandemic and learn how to develop this content in the process.

Data Collection

To conduct this research, I developed three different versions of the Health[e]Foundation course called Corona[e]Education. The three versions had the same content but differed in their interactivity characteristics (See Table 1).

Table 1. Interactive modules designed for the e-learning intervention
Version Interactivity type Interactivity level SCORM Features
Text Multimedia Hyperlinks Click and reveal Knowledge check activities
E1 Expository 1 X X X    
E2 Expository 2 X X X X  
M3 Mixed 3 X X X X X

Participants were allocated in three intervention groups and exposed to one of the versions of the e-learning course. Quantitative data was collected from the results of pre-and-posttest and user experience surveys. Structured interviews with 10 of the 43 participants gave more insights into the preferences and barriers encountered with the e-learning platform and content.


Inclusion of knowledge-check activities

Results suggest that participants who were exposed to the M3 interactive version of the course had a higher knowledge gain compared to the other versions. This hints that the inclusion of knowledge-check activities, such as multiple-choice questions, sorting activities, and case scenarios, led to better e-learning outcomes. Moreover, interviewees highlighted that the inclusion of knowledge-check activities was useful for their e-learning process as they could reflect on concepts included on the course. 


User experience

In general, healthcare workers were very positive about learning on the new Moodle platform. They related their positive e-learning experiences mainly to the quality of the information shown in the e-learning module, the impact of the mini-course in their fields of work, and the easy navigation on the Moodle platform. The visual aesthetics, and inclusion of hyperlinks, and multimedia also elicited positive reactions among interviewees. However, some barriers were identified during the interviews:

  1. Complex and long process to access the Moodle platform.
  2. Technical issues when downloading e-learning contents on via the mobile and desktop application of Moodle. 
  3. Limited internet resources for visualizing videos and hyperlinks included in the e-learning courses.


Main points of attention

At the moment it is imperative to prioritize solving technical problems related to the Moodle platform as Interviewees mentioned that their willingness to continue e-learning courses depend on the technical barriers and technical assistance received during this process. Therefore, it is recommended for Health[e]Foundation to:

  1. Make the self-registration process on Moodle a seamless and easy process
  2. Improve the access and user experiences on the Moodle mobile application
  3. Provide a direct and efficient technical support to the learners by integrating messaging tools on its Moodle platform
  4. Make use of the kick-off workshops to explain procedures required for the e-learning process that users might perceive as complex
  5. Furthermore, it is recommended to design mixed interactive e-learning modules with the inclusion of knowledge-check activities. 


Future of Health[e]Foundation’s e-learning interventions

The aforementioned recommendations have the potential to implement a user-centered approach and improve future learners’ experiences and learning outcomes not only in sub-Saharan African contexts but also in other countries of interest to Health[e]Foundation. Furthermore, this study brought attention to the impact of interactivity types in knowledge gain and retention. Further research on the impact of knowledge-check activities can be performed to establish guidelines for the development of effective e-learning contents in the future.