Is there really evidence for e-learning in healthcare?

E-learning – that is, the use of Internet platforms on various electronic devices (PCs, mobile technology) to deliver any form of teaching, training or further education – is a growing area for researchers across disciplines. It is often used in the delivery of, or to supplement, courses or advanced training in settings where there is a perceived gain from reducing traditional classroom interaction. For example, e-learning can reduce travel, increase schedule flexibility or expedite the dissemination of new information and methods, among many possible advantages.

Although e-learning for health professionals and patients is expanding year on year, the availability of quality evidence for such programmes does not match the growth. When asked to advise on developing relevant metrics for a local pilot, we found that information was inadequate and many of the groups claiming to be leaders in the field were not backing claims with evidence. Since it appears such programmes are likely to grow, we looked at a large amount of available literature on e-learning, continuing professional development and health education to determine the areas that should be reviewed when determining effectiveness. This culminates in a proposed model for robust evaluation of such programmes, covering course learning and broader contexts to implementing e-learning in health.

Find the full article here.

[A Global Model for Effective Use and Evaluation of e-Learning in Health Kai Ruggeri, Conor Farrington, and Carol Brayne. Telemedicine and e-Health. April 2013, 19(4): 312-321. doi:10.1089/tmj.2012.0175]

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  • The Cambridge Centre for Health Services Research (CCHSR) is a thriving collaboration between the University of Cambridge and RAND Europe. We aim to inform health policy and practice by conducting research and evaluation studies of organisation and delivery of healthcare, including safety, effectiveness, efficiency and patient experience.