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Med Teach. 2011;33(4):328-30. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2011.540266.

The challenge of integrating new online education packages into existing curricula: a new model.

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Open University Centre for Education in Medicine, UK.



In 2009, The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) developed an undergraduate online learning package on the practical application of evidence-based medicine with the intention that it would be integrated into existing medical curricula.


Complementary methodologies were used to yield a diversity of quantitative and qualitative data on how the online learning package was integrated.


The modules of the online learning package received an overall positive reaction from the users but uptake of the modules was lower than expected. Even though some curriculum integration occurred, several students were unaware that the package existed, some lacked the time to use the package and others would have preferred to have had the package earlier in their course.


A new model for the effective integration of online education packages into existing undergraduate medical curricula is proposed, especially when developed by external organisations. This new model should enable educationalists to better reveal and overcome the contextual and process challenges, barriers and solutions to implementing effective flexible learning approaches. When introducing new learning resources into a curriculum, many factors are important, especially the learners' perceived needs and how these vary at different stages of their course.

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