The Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre – paving the way forward in online dementia education.

Dr Alison Canty, Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre



Dementia has been described by the World Health Organisation as the public health issue of the 21st century. There is an established relationship between dementia education and the quality of dementia care, which reduces costly invasive procedures and improves the quality of life for people with dementia and those who care for them. The Wicking Centre, part of the Faculty of Health at the University of Tasmania, has developed a Dementia Education Program which integrates two fully online courses: the Understanding Dementia Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) and the Bachelor of Dementia Care (BDemCare).

The BDemCare is the world’s first fully online, Bachelor of Dementia Care.  Launched in 2012, it now has 1300 students spread across Australia, who are predominantly a non-traditional university cohort. With this unique challenge, the BDemCare exemplifies an inclusive and supportive approach to online education that links the biological basis of dementia and related illnesses to symptoms and care.

The MOOC is a free online course that was developed to address the international need for comprehensive, quality, evidence-based information about dementia. Launched in 2013, it is the world’s first global initiative in dementia education, attracting 48,000 registrants from within and beyond Australia across three deliveries. With an average completion rate of 37%, this places the Understanding Dementia MOOC as a world leader in open access online education.

The Wicking Academy Dementia Education Program features a strong design framework for student centred learning, and the innovative use of technology to create engaging and effective environments for online learning. It demonstrates how technology-enhanced learning can be used to transform knowledge to address a significant local, national and global need.

Why the presentation/topic will be of interest to Conference participants

Originally offered in partnership with ACST and ACSA NSW&ACT, a significant number of ACST members have staff across all levels of the workforce who have participated in Wicking Dementia Education Programs.  This forum provides a valuable opportunity to evaluate and celebrate the participation of Tasmanians in this world leading education program.

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