Teaching emergency preparedness to public health workers: use of blended learning in web-based training

This article presents the development of a program and results of a study to evaluate an online distancebased learning (DBL) program for competency-based, basic emergency preparedness training for employees of local health departments nationwide. The program was developed and implemented beginning in May 2003 by Columbia University’s Center for Public Health Preparedness (CU-CPHP), and was designed to be delivered in two parts. The first part was an online training program, providing the basic knowledge required for public health preparedness. The second part was a downloadable template, which the student could use to guide learning and subsequent demonstration of the core emergency preparedness competencies to his or her supervisor. The student could return this documentation to the CU-CPHP to receive a certificate of completion, which would be e-mailed to the recipient. Evaluation findings indicate that this course resulted in a high degree of participant satisfaction along with an increased level of participant understanding of the basic emergency preparedness core competencies.