26th January 2023 is the day when WHO launched the first OpenWHO.org course on the then-novel coronavirus and began to provide accessible, up-to-date and informative health knowledge to diverse audiences around the world amidst a rapidly evolving pandemic three years. To date, OpenWHO offers a total of 190 online courses, 46 of which cover COVID-19 topics, with 7.4 million course registrations.
To accommodate a multilingual world and best serve the affected global population, OpenWHO courses are produced in a total of 65 languages, with an average of four languages offered per course. Fifteen country-specific learning channels were developed with WHO country offices to provide access to official languages of Member States. All learning content is created and reviewed by a WHO scientific and expert team to ensure its scientific accuracy.
To have the widest possible impact and reach learners from remote communities to high-tech metropolises, including during health emergencies, OpenWHO leverages existing technology and provides learning content that is simple, adaptable and easily accessible. OpenWHO courses are delivered in a self-paced, multi-purpose format, so learners can choose when to engage in a way that works best for them, in line with the Universal Design of the Learning Framework. Materials are also increasingly optimized for a world where many people rely on their phones for information.
Feedback received so far shows positive and encouraging trends. An analysis of two surveys conducted for the platform’s second most popular course, Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) in the Context of COVID-19, confirms high user satisfaction and well-met learning needs. More than 95% of the participants, most of whom were women aged 20 to 39 in health-related industries, said they would change at least some of their IPC practice after the course.
Additionally, findings from a survey of learners participating in health worker COVID-19 vaccination training confirm the effectiveness of self-paced, multipurpose formats from a user perspective, as well as the value of modular and low-bandwidth-friendly materials to reduce access obstacle.
Finally, recent feedback suggests that learning at OpenWHO has expanded beyond the online platform, as the community adapts materials to local contexts and key learners pass on their acquired knowledge, creating a multiplier effect.
By harnessing the potential of a simple format and technology to provide millions of people around the world with the knowledge to protect themselves and their communities, OpenWHO helps further WHO’s goal of supporting the highest levels of health for everyone, everywhere. Going forward, this knowledge transfer platform will remain an important and effective tool for global preparedness and response to health emergencies.