Malnutrition eLearning Evaluation (MeLE) project

Project summary

MeLE screenshot


Through training health professionals we believe that the Malnutrition eLearning course (developed in 2010) can make a significant contribution to building capacity for improved malnutrition management, supporting the aims of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement.

Since 2014 the eLearning team has been working on a Malnutrition eLearning Evaluation (MeLE).

The ultimate aim of the MeLE project is to investigate the potential and impact of the Malnutrition eLearning on reducing mortality rates among children with Severe acute malnutrition (SAM).



The Malnutrition eLearning course was developed by the IMTF and UoS and was initiated in 2010 to offer standardised and interactive training for the management of malnutrition in children globally. In September 2011, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) committed to reaching 20 million children under 5 years of age with nutrition interventions by 2015. One of DFID's aims was to use effective nutrition-specific interventions to address the immediate causes of undernutrition. To achieve this, DFID developed Nutrition Embedding Evaluation Programme (NEEP) to support high-quality evaluations of DFID's major nutrition programmes and the most innovative civil society nutrition programmes. NEEP will generate evidence on the interventions required for tackling undernutrition in an attempt to ultimately scale up nutrition interventions. The Malnutrition eLearning course has been identified as one of the nutrition specific interventions. In 2014, the University of Southampton was awarded a NEEP grant to carry out evaluation research, investigating its impact and effective ways to scale up. NEEP is managed by PATH.

Progress Reports


Phase 1

Phase 1 of the evaluation was conducted from Feb to Apr 2015 with the existing Malnutrition eLearning users using 3 methods: self-administered questionnaire (online), individual interviews and focus groups. It explored the outcomes and benefits the users had gained from the course, i.e. sustainable knowledge gain and improved understanding; for health professionals the changes in their clinical practice and associated outcomes; and for trainers/educators, changes in their training and teaching and outcomes. We are currently working on the analysis of Phase 1 data and the key findings will be shared in Autumn 2015.

Phase 2

The purpose of the Phase 2 evaluation is to investigate the impact of the Malnutrition eLearning course on users’ knowledge gain and application of knowledge, leading to health outcomes. The study target participants are new Malnutrition eLearning users and the aim is to follow the participants’ progression over the period of a year after completing the course. Using formative assessments, questionnaires and interviews before and after taking the course, the aim is to explore how well the course has supported the participants’ knowledge gain and competencies of malnutrition management. Short questionnaires and optional interviews after 6 and 12 months will also be conducted to investigate the participants’ application of knowledge and outcomes. Phase 2 of the study is currently being carried out.

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