Learning from the innovative open practices of three international health projects: IACAPAP, VCPH and Physiopedia

Tony Coughlan, Leigh-Anne Perryman


Open educational resources and open educational practices are being increasingly used around the globe to train and support professionals in areas where funding and resources are scarce. This paper evaluates the open educational practices (OEP) of three global health projects operating outside academia - the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (IACAPAP), the Virtual Campus of Public Health (VCPH), and Physiopedia. Each project aims to pool and share professional expertise, to the particular benefit of practitioners in low-income countries. This form of online knowledge-sharing appears to offer huge advantages to the health/public health sector, especially when conducted in the open, at a time when there is a huge global shortfall of healthcare workers and a need for cost-effective, high quality training.

We evaluated the three projects using two frameworks –the OPAL open educational practices maturity matrix, and Vrieling’s OEP social configuration framework. We identified numerous innovative OEP from which academia, and indeed public health professionals around the world could learn, for example IACAPAP’s open textbook, VCPH’s trilingual OER repository, and Physiopedia’s wiki and use of open badges. However, some OEP –for example localisation of resources– are not accommodated by either of the frameworks we used.  We argue that an extended OEP evaluation and impact framework is needed in order to better encompass OEP outside formal education.




Open educational practices, OEP, open educational resources, OER, public health, CPD, professional bodies, IACAPAP, VCPH, Physiopedia

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.7.2.188


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