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Gains in multiple sclerosis knowledge following completion of the Understanding Multiple Sclerosis online course are maintained six months after course completion

      Highlights

      • Online course about MS increased MS knowledge in people with MS and those without.
      • The gains in MS knowledge were maintained six months after the course finished.
      • People living with MS also improved health literacy and self-efficacy.

      Abstract

      Background

      Participation in the Understanding Multiple Sclerosis (MS) massive open online course (MOOC) significantly increases MS knowledge in both people living with MS (pwMS) and not living with MS at course completion. We also observed modest increases in health literacy, self-efficacy, and quality of life.

      Objective

      To examine long-term participant knowledge retention over a six-month follow-up period following completion of the Understanding MS MOOC, a freely available six-week online health education intervention.

      Methods

      We conducted pre-post analysis using paired t-tests to determine the effect of the course on MS knowledge (primary outcome), health literacy, resilience, self-efficacy, quality of life, and MS symptom severity among pwMS and not living with MS. We assessed the effect of participant characteristics on the change in MS knowledge using linear regression.

      Results

      Both pwMS (N=139) and not living with MS (N=164) significantly increased MS knowledge over the follow-up period. PwMS also showed increases in health literacy and self-efficacy. These increases were largely maintained from the post-course assessment. There was no effect on resilience or quality of life.

      Conclusions

      The Understanding MS MOOC significantly increased MS knowledge and this knowledge was maintained six months after course completion. Our results reinforce the importance and potential impact of health education in the MS community.

      Keywords

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