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27-02-2018 | Show and Tell | Uitgave 3/2018 Open Access

Perspectives on Medical Education 3/2018

The Massive Online Needs Assessment (MONA) to inform the development of an emergency haematology educational blog series

Perspectives on Medical Education > Uitgave 3/2018
Teresa M. Chan, David Jo, Andrew W. Shih, Vinai C. Bhagirath, Lana A. Castellucci, Calvin Yeh, Brent Thoma, Eric K. Tseng, Kerstin de Wit
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s40037-018-0406-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
This work has been presented at the Canadian Society of Transfusion Medicine 2017 in Ottawa, ON, Canada and also at the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians conference in Whistler, BC, Canada in June 2017.



Online educational resources are criticized as being teacher-centred, failing to address learner’s needs. Needs assessments are an important precursor to inform curriculum development, but these are often overlooked or skipped by developers of online educational resources due to cumbersome measurement tools. Novel methods are required to identify perceived and unperceived learning needs to allow targeted development of learner-centred curricula.


To evaluate the feasibility of performing a novel technique dubbed the Massive Online Needs Assessment (MONA) for the purpose of emergency haematology online educational curricular planning, within an online learning community (affiliated with the Free Open Access Medical education movement).


An online survey was launched on using an embedded Google Forms survey. Participants were recruited using the study website and a social media campaign (utilizing Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, and a poster) targeting a specific online community. Web analytics were used to monitor participation rates in addition to survey responses.


The survey was open from 20 September to 10 December 2016 and received 198 complete responses representing 6 medical specialties from 21 countries. Most survey respondents identified themselves as staff physicians (n = 109) and medical trainees (n = 75). We identified 17 high-priority perceived needs, 17 prompted needs, and 10 topics with unperceived needs through our MONA process.


A MONA is a feasible, novel method for collecting data on perceived, prompted, and unperceived learning needs to inform an online emergency haematology educational blog. This methodology could be useful to the developers of other online education resources.
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