E-learning beneficial to health professionals
Electronic learning (e-learning) could help millions of students to train as healthcare professionals across the globe, according to a new study.
The research, commissioned by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and conducted by Imperial College London (ICL), set out to evaluate the effectiveness of e-learning for undergraduate health professional education.
A recent report released by the WHO revealed that the world is short of 7.2 million healthcare professionals, with this figure rising.
The ICL team looked at online learning requiring an internet connection, and then offline learning delivered by a CD-ROM or USB stick.
Drawn from 108 studies, the findings revealed that students learn skills and acquire knowledge through online and offline e-learning just as well or better than they do through more traditional methods of teaching.
It was suggested that a combination of e-learning and traditional training may be the most beneficial to aspiring doctors and nurses, rather than just e-learning courses, as it will enable them to also acquire practical skills.
Dr Josip Car, from the School of Public Health at ICL, said: "E-learning programmes could potentially help address the shortage of healthcare workers by enabling greater access to education, especially in the developing world where the need for more health professionals is greatest."
Mr Car continued by saying that challenges remain to be overcome, such as access to computers, internet connections and learning resources.
He urged universities to make e-learning programs and online resources widely available to students. It is hoped that this will help to address the need to train more health workers across the globe.
Virtual College work with a range of healthcare organisations to support the delivery of a Healthcare e-Academy. For more information, please visit: http://www.virtual-college.co.uk/e-academies/Healthcare.aspx