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J Contin Educ Health Prof. 2009 Fall;29(4):235-41. doi: 10.1002/chp.20041.

UK health-care professionals' experience of on-line learning techniques: a systematic review of qualitative data.

Author information

  • 1School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S1 4DA, UK. c.carroll@sheffield.ac.uk

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Continuing professional development and education is vital to the provision of better health services and outcomes. The aim of this study is to contribute to the evidence base by performing a systematic review of qualitative data from studies reporting health professionals' experience of e-learning. No such previous review has been published.

METHOD:

A systematic review of qualitative data reporting UK health professionals' experiences of the ways in which on-line learning is delivered by higher education and other relevant institutions. Evidence synthesis was performed with the use of thematic analysis grounded in the data.

RESULTS:

Literature searches identified 19 relevant studies. The subjects of the studies were nurses, midwives, and allied professions (8 studies), general practitioners and hospital doctors (6 studies), and a range of different health practitioners (5 studies). The majority of courses were stand-alone continuing professional development modules. Five key themes emerged from the data: peer communication, flexibility, support, knowledge validation, and course presentation and design.

DISCUSSION:

The effectiveness of on-line learning is mediated by the learning experience. If they are to enhance health professionals' experience of e-learning, courses need to address presentation and course design; they must be flexible, offer mechanisms for both support and rapid assessment, and develop effective and efficient means of communication, especially among the students themselves.

PMID:
19998474
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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