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What are OERs and MOOCs and what have they got to do with prep?

02 April 2015
5 min read
Volume 23 · Issue 4


As technology advances and becomes more accessible, it offers midwives a greater variety of ways to meet prep (continuing professional development (CPD)) standards (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2011) and, at the end of 2015, its successor, revalidation. The concepts of online learning and open educational resources (OERs) have developed rapidly in the last two decades owing to advances in, and the massification of, information technology. The term massive open online courses (MOOCs) was devised by Dave Cormier in 2008 in response to the development of free, open, online courses which allow for an unlimited number of participants (Cormier, 2010). As OERs and MOOCs are free and easily accessible, could they be useful resources for midwives to access to meet CPD requirements? This article will explain what they are; suggest how they might be useful and recommend some resources to consider.

As autonomous, accountable practitioners, midwives are required to continually update their clinical knowledge and skills in order to provide high quality, safe and effective care (Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), 2012; NMC, 2015a; Jokhi, 2014). Post-registration education and practice (prep) is a set of NMC standards and guidance designed to support midwives in providing this level of care. Midwives renew their registration every 3 years by signing a Notification of Practice (NoP) and submitting an annual Intention to Practise (ItP) form to their named supervisor of midwives. Prep standards have two distinct requirements: midwives must provide evidence of a minimum of 450 hours of practice plus the equivalent of 35 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) or learning activity in the previous 3 years in order to maintain their professional registration (NMC, 2011). The NMC ensures midwives are complying with the standards by the NoP and may ask midwives to provide written evidence of their learning activity by means of audit. Under the current guidance, while the learning activity must be relevant to practice, there is no such thing as approved prep (CPD) learning activities (NMC, 2011), it is up to the individual to choose an activity they feel is relevant to practice and provide written evidence of its positive influence on their practice.

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