Families impacted by parental cancer need advice from healthcare professionals on how to communicate this devastating news to their children and support them while having treatment. Despite the evident need, this support is often inadequate, due to lack of confidence and training for healthcare professionals. To address this gap, a theory-based e-learning intervention has been development using a ‘person-based approach’, aimed at enhancing healthcare professionals’ self-efficacy when supporting parents newly diagnosed with cancer who have dependent children.
Using the person-based approach two qualitative focus groups (n = 23) were conducted at the planning phase, with frontline oncology professionals. During the development phase, an iterative approach was adopted incorporating ‘think aloud’ interviews (n = 14) for usability testing, hence moving between data collection, analysis and modifications of the e-learning intervention. The data was analysed using thematic analysis.
Drawing upon existing evidence and data generated from the two focus groups at the planning phase, an e-learning prototype was developed. Three cycles of refinement followed with user retesting, using 14 think-aloud interviews. Key themes identified during think-aloud interviews which led to modifications included: 'navigational difficulties' and ‘enhancement of content and visibility’. Four positive themes were also reported to include: ‘appropriate use of children’s drawings’, ‘superior look and feel’, ‘value of the ‘Talking, Telling and Sharing framework’’ and ‘pedagogical methods to improve impact’.
This study provides a detailed description of how the person-based approach was used to plan, develop and test an e-learning intervention, aimed at improving its acceptability, feasibility and effectiveness during implementation. Providing a detailed description of the foundations that underpinned the development of this e-learning intervention, promotes transparency in the planning and design process, therefore aids methodological rigour.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
HSC R&D Office, Northern Ireland.
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.