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Original research
Massive open online course for type 2 diabetes self-management: adapting education in the COVID-19 era
  1. Scott C Mackenzie1,
  2. Kirsten M Cumming2,
  3. David Garrell2,
  4. Doogie Brodie2,
  5. Lyn Wilson3,
  6. Salma Mehar2,4,
  7. Scott G Cunningham5,
  8. Alex Bickerton6,
  9. Deborah J Wake7,8
  1. 1 Department of Acute Medicine, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, UK
  2. 2 MyWay Digital Health Ltd, Dundee, UK
  3. 3 NHS Lanarkshire, Bothwell, South Lanarkshire, UK
  4. 4 NHS North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups, London, UK
  5. 5 Department of Population Health & Genomics, University of Dundee, Dundee, Dundee, UK
  6. 6 Department of Diabetes & Endocrinology, Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Yeovil, UK
  7. 7 Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  8. 8 Edinburgh Centre for Endocrinology and Diabetes, NHS Lothian, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Scott C Mackenzie, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee DD1 9SY, UK; scm.123{at}


Introduction Type 2 diabetes self-management education is an essential component of type 2 diabetes care that is traditionally delivered in a face-to-face setting. In response to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, innovative solutions are urgently needed, allowing provision of self-management education that can be delivered in compliance with social distancing policies. Innovations that are self-service and can deliver education efficiently at low cost are particularly appealing to healthcare providers and commissioners.

Methods We aimed to evaluate user uptake, dropout, acceptability, satisfaction, perceived short-term knowledge gain and health benefits/behaviour changes in relation to a free massive open online course (MOOC) in diabetes self-management education, created and delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic. This course, focusing on addressing knowledge and self-management needs for people with type 2 diabetes, made use of online interactive content including expert and patient videos, quizzes, moderated discussion boards and live social media that encouraged personal reflection and goal setting. User expectations and experiences were explored via survey-based methods. Here, we present our experience of developing the course and describe users’ experiences.

Results 1991 users registered interest in the course over a 2-week period, with 976 users starting the course and 640 (65.6%) users completing the course in full. Users engaged well, finding the course educational, user-friendly and motivating, demonstrating high completion rates and user satisfaction. A statistically significant (p<0.001) increase in self-reported self-management ability and health knowledge was observed among participants with type 2 diabetes.

Discussion MOOCs in type 2 diabetes self-management education have great potential for delivering education efficiently at scale and low cost. Although engagement can be limited by digital literacy, benefits include flexible and remote access to up-to-date, evidence-based education delivered by a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals.

  • diabetes mellitus
  • information science
  • endocrinology
  • delivery of healthcare
  • healthcare quality
  • access
  • and evaluation

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  • Contributors DJW conceived the study and supervised development of the massive open online course (MOOC). SCM and KMC led the development of the MOOC and performed the data analysis. All authors contributed to revision and development of the MOOC content. DG performed economic analysis. SCM drafted the manuscript. All authors revised the manuscript and approved the final version.

  • Funding This work was funded by MWDH.

  • Competing interests SCM, KMC, DG, DB and SGC are employees of MWDH. DJW and SGC are cofounders and shareholders of MWDH.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Pseudonymised data available on reasonable request.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.