Developing and testing a theory-driven e-learning intervention to equip healthcare professionals to communicate with parents impacted by parental cancer

Cherith Semple, Eilis McCaughan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
70 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Parents have a desire and need for instructive support from healthcare professionals on how best to communicate a cancer diagnosis with their dependent children. Healthcare professionals lack confidence to initiate and facilitate parent-child communication, reporting the need for training. To address the evident gap, this paper outlines the planning, development and testing phases of an e-learning intervention, using a person-based approach.

Methods: The planning and development phases combined evidence from reviews of qualitative and quantitative literature, an expert group and data generated from primary research of two focus groups with frontline oncology professionals (n=23) to develop the e-learning intervention prototype.

An iterative approach was adopted with 14 ‘think aloud’ interviews for prototype usability testing, resulting in continuous movement between data collection, analysis and modification of the e-learning intervention.

Results: Involving end-users throughout all phases of this process, optimised the intervention development. As a result, a communication framework on how healthcare professionals can initiate these conversations with parents was integrated, alongside role-play videos and original artwork by children expressing their views associated with parental cancer.

During the testing phase, think-aloud interviews identified key navigational difficulties which were modified and resolved. Minor modifications were made to the content and ‘look and feel’ of screen pages.

Conclusions: The systematic and iterative, person-based approach, yielded important and complementary insights to enhance acceptability of the e-learning intervention. Providing a detailed description of the foundations that underpinned the development of this e-learning intervention, promotes transparency in the planning and design process, therefore aids methodological rigour.
Original languageEnglish
Article number41
Pages (from-to)126-134
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
Early online date14 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Aug 2019
EventEONS 11 European Oncology Nursing Society : Poster presentation Developing and testing a theory-driven e-learning intervention for healthcare professionals to empower parents with cancer to support their children - Messe Muchen, Munich, Germany
Duration: 20 Oct 201822 Oct 2018


  • Parental cancer
  • methodology
  • person-based approach
  • intervention development
  • qualitative
  • e-learning
  • think-aloud interviews
  • Qualitative research
  • Person-based approach
  • Methodology
  • E-Learning
  • Intervention development
  • Think-aloud interviews


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