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Med Teach. 2009 Jan;31(1):e6-12. doi: 10.1080/01421590802334317.

Is there a place for e-learning in clinical skills? A survey of undergraduate medical students' experiences and attitudes.

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  • 1General Practice and Clinical Skills, Queen's University, Belfast, UK.



e-learning is established in many medical schools. However the effectiveness of e-learning has been difficult to quantify and there have been concerns that such educational activities may be driven more by novelty, than pedagogical evidence. Where some domains may lend themselves well to e-learning, clinical skills has been considered a challenging area for online learning.


The aims of this study are to assess undergraduate medical students? perceived level of IT ability and accessibility, and attitudes towards e-learning in basic clinical skills education, compared to other teaching methods.


A self-administered questionnaire was developed to capture undergraduate medical students: (i) demographic details (ii) perceived level of IT ability and accessibility (iii) experiences and attitudes towards e-learning and clinical skills training. Responses were linked to student?s performance in a clinical skills OSCE.


The majority of students reported good access to computers and the internet, both on and off campus and appear confident using IT. Overall students felt that e-learning had a positive impact on their learning of clinical skills and was comparable to other traditional forms of clinical skills teaching. Students who displayed deep learning traits when using e-learning, performed better in clinical skills OSCEs.


Undergraduate medical students value the use of e-learning in clinical skills education, however they vary in their utilization of such learning environments. Students rate e-learning just as highly as other traditional methods of clinical skills teaching and acknowledge its integration in a blended approach. Developers of clinical skills curricula need to ensure e-learning environments utilize media that encourage deeper approaches to learning.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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