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Experiential and authentic learning approaches in vaccine management

Monday, 3rd of April 2017 Print

Abstract below; full text is at


Volume 35, Issue 17, 19 April 2017, Pages 2243–2251

Experiential and authentic learning approaches in vaccine management 

  • Umit Kartoglua, , 
  • James Vesperb
  • Hanna Teräsc
  • Thomas Reevesd
  • a World Health Organization, Department of Essential Medicines and Health Products, Regulatory System Strengthening, 20 Avenue Appia, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland
  • b LearningPlus, Inc., Rochester, NY, USA
  • c School of Education, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia
  • d Dept. of Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology (EPIT), College of Education, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA

Available online 30 March 2017

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• Personnel maintaining a cold chain for vaccines require expertise.

• Unique learning solutions (wheels course and e-learning course) developed by WHO.

• Both courses address managerial and operational vaccine management functions.

• Course objectives are aligned with effective vaccine management (EVM) criteria.

• Learners address real-life situations via experiential and authentic course designs.


A high level of concern is placed on the storage, handling, transportation, and distribution of vaccines and other pharmaceutical products, particularly those that are time and temperature sensitive. While active and passive cooling equipment and monitoring devices are important, it is the various personnel responsible for executing and writing procedures, designing and operating systems, and investigating problems and helping prevent them who are paramount in establishing and maintaining a “cold chain” for time and temperature sensitive pharmaceutical products (TTSPPs). These professionals must possess the required competencies, knowledge, skills and abilities so they can effectively perform these activities with appropriate levels of expertise. These are complex tasks that require the development of higher cognitive skills that cannot be adequately addressed through professional development opportunities based on simple information delivery and content acquisition. This paper describes two unique learning solutions (one on a bus called the “wheels course” and the other online called “e-learning”) that have been developed by WHO Global Learning Opportunities (WHO/GLO) to provide participants with opportunities not just to learn about cold chain systems or vaccine management, but, rather, to develop high levels of expertise in their respective fields through experiential and authentic learning activities. In these interactive learning environments, participants have opportunities to address real-life situations in contexts similar to what they may face in their own work environments and develop solutions and critical thinking skills they can apply when they return to their jobs. This paper further delineates the managerial and operational vaccine management functions encompassed in these two unique learning environments. The paper also describes the alignment of the objectives addressed in the “wheels course” and the e-learning version with effective vaccine management (EVM) criteria as prescribed by WHO. The paper concludes with an example of a real world product developed by course graduates (specifically a decision tree that is now used by some national programmes). These types of products, valuable in their own right, often emerge when learning environments based on authentic learning principles are designed and implemented as they were by WHO/GLO.

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