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Medical education company scoops national award

Learna Ltd, a healthcare education company based at Cardiff Medicentre, has won a Silver Award in the flagship competition for the educational sector.

The Learning Technology Awards, which took place in London, saw Learna fight off stiff competition in its sector to come second to the multi-national online language training company, Speexx, in the Best Online Distance Learning Programme category.

Learna delivers postgraduate services to a global community, enabling continuing medical education through its Study PRN website and Diploma-Msc.com programmes, in conjunction with the University of South Wales. More than 2,000 medical professionals from over 100 countries have  so far graduated with postgraduate diplomas and MScs in subjects such as diabetes, dermatology, health economics and healthcare leadership. The reach and flexibility that comes with online learning enables doctors all over the world to study alongside their clinical practise, and to improve the health outcomes of their communities.

Learna’s Chairman Professor Steve Davies, a physician at the University Hospital of Wales, said, “We are proud to be recognised in such a big way for our distance learning courses. This is a phenomenal achievement for us as a small company, coming second to a major multi-national company but also beating billion-pound companies such as Kaplan, Swiss GE and Knect365 Learning. Our mission is to improve global healthcare through medical education, and we have had a great year in helping healthcare professionals achieve their development objectives.”

The awards’ judges recognised the contribution the Diploma-MSc programmes have made to global healthcare learning, commenting that Learna was an inspiring example of how online technologies can reach healthcare professionals across the globe and enable them to achieve Masters level qualifications – fully online. They added that the commitment and drive of personal tutors, the robust course design and a growing catalogue of available subject areas are all key factors in the outstanding levels of student engagement and results.

Founded in 2010, and employing 27 people, Learna’s focus continues to be on delivering an increasingly broad range of accessible, high-quality online education tools for healthcare professionals. Professor Davies said, “There are so many demands on clinicians’ time that postgraduate learning, and the specialist knowledge gained from it, has historically been quite elusive. We’re changing that. Chronic disease management represents one of the biggest global challenges in terms of impact on health and on the consumption of healthcare resources. We, and many others, see online education as being a vital component in the fight against disease, helping to deliver improved patient outcomes.’

Professor Davies has recently returned from a conference in Senegal hosted by The Merck Foundation (the charitable arm of the global pharmaceutical company, Merck GmbH), where he had been invited to speak to an audience that included 11 First Ladies of Africa and the President of Senegal. Take-up of the company’s products in Africa and Asia is growing quickly, and Learna is looking to capitalise on their appeal by expanding the medical specialties that its online learning covers, as well as growing its global markets.

These successes come at a significant point in the company’s development, as Learna is set to graduate from Cardiff Medicentre and move into new premises the city.

Dr Justin John, Business Incubation Officer at Cardiff Medicentre, said, “We are of course sad to say goodbye to Steve and his team, but so delighted that Learna has developed to a point at which it no longer needs the incubation services and facilities that are on offer here. The company is now established and doing exceptionally well, and we are thrilled to have played our part in helping along the way. Learna is a business that will go from strength to strength, and we look forward to hearing of the even greater successes that it will go on to achieve.”