Project summary

MEDUSA screenshot

Following a successful bid to the Department of Health, numbers of medical students at Southampton have expanded rapidly over the last few years, with a 47% rise to an intake of 250. The expansion has increased the need for staff development for new staff and for staff at newly established medical student teaching centres around the NHS South Central region.

The Faculty of Medicine has run a highly successful staff development programme for many years, but it can be difficult for busy doctors to attend workshops, and having additional teaching centres spread over a wider geographical area only exacerbates this.

The decision was taken to improve access to staff development by providing a range of online modules to complement our existing programme of face-to-face events. Our approach was to design a resource that is simple to navigate and contains modules that are engaging, interactive, succinct and relevant whilst at the same time being academically robust.

Key features

MEDUSA is designed to deliver online staff development modules on a range of topics both to our teaching staff and to the wider medical teaching community. This allows busy healthcare professionals to develop and enhance their skills at a time and place convenient to them as part of their Continuing Professional Development.

Considerable time was invested in the overall design of MEDUSA, including the look and feel, structure and functionality. A basic database was developed to capture the results of each activity to allow users to review previous attempts, and to print a summary of their progress and a certificate of completion.

Each module is structured around Kolb's experiential learning model (1984). The sequence of learning activities represents each stage of the experiential learning cycle: concrete experience, reflection, conceptual/theoretical analysis, and experimentation. We customised Kolb's model to acknowledge varying depths of engagement in eLearning: in some modules, teachers who are pressed for time can move through a briefer learning cycle ("fast-track"), and return later for deeper learning by working through the full module. To encourage dialogue between teachers we also include a discussion forum.

For each module, a working group of topic experts provided content for the different stages of the learning cycle. Care was taken to ensure that this content complemented our existing programme of courses and the individual elements were developed so that they could be used both within the module and as stand-alone resources to support face-to-face staff-development.


Kolb D. Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice Hall, 1984.


  • Faith Hill (Director, Division of Medical Education)
  • Kevin Galbraith (Lecturer in Medical Education)
  • Sunhea Choi (eLearning Manager)
  • Marcus Parry (Educational Project Manager)


MEDUSA has been developed by the Faculty of Medicine with match funding from NHS Education South Central.


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Please visit the MEDUSA staff development eLearning modules: MEDUSA Modules