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Table of Contents
MEDICAL EDUCATION
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 28-29

Planning and implementing an e-learning course for medical students: Points to ponder


1 Vice Principal Curriculum, Department of Community Medicine, Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication20-Jun-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur-Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/JIHS.JIHS_10_19

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  Abstract 


Due to the ubiquitous presence and use of Internet and communication technologies, e-learning has found its scope even in the field of medical education. Despite the delivery of rich collaborative community of learning, it has been observed that a significant number of enrolled participants drop out and do not complete their course. These findings clearly suggest that before designing an e-learning course for medical students, there is an immense need for having a good team, software and hardware support. The first and foremost step for designing an e-learning course is to perform a needs assessment and then followed by deciding on the content of the course. The course should be designed with periodically spaced assessments, and the students should also receive feedback about their performance and the areas in which they need to improve on. In conclusion, e-learning courses in the field of medical education have revolutionized the entire practice of teaching–learning. However, the success of an e-learning program depends on the proper planning and keeping the course interactive.

Keywords: Assessment, e-learning, medical education


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Planning and implementing an e-learning course for medical students: Points to ponder. J Integr Health Sci 2019;7:28-9

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Planning and implementing an e-learning course for medical students: Points to ponder. J Integr Health Sci [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Jul 20];7:28-9. Available from: http://www.jihs.in/text.asp?2019/7/1/28/260825




  Introduction Top


Due to the ubiquitous presence and use of Internet and communication technologies, e-learning has found its scope even in the field of medical education.[1] In fact, due to its convenience, wide reach and less involved costs, e-learning has been acknowledged as one of the effective approaches in the delivery of medical education.[1] This is further supported as the learners can learn at their pace and envisages the principles of adult learning and plays a big role in the development of a self-directed learner.[1],[2] Further, from the faculty perspective, it minimizes the training time and travel expenses, and thus, it is a win-win situation for all the involved stakeholders.[1],[2]

E-learning in medicine

Acknowledging all these merits, it is quite obvious that the demand for e-learning courses has increased enormously, even in the field of medicine.[1] Moreover, there are various platforms/organizations, which are offering e-learning courses to medical students for enhancing their competence levels.[1],[2],[3] In addition, learning management systems have been developed by different organizations to facilitate the conduction of such online teaching–learning programs.[2],[3] These programs not only deliver the content (in the form of video lectures, assignments, online discussions, etc.) to the enrolled students but also are used to conduct assessment to get an idea about the progression of learning.[1],[2],[3],[4]

Barriers to successful implementation

Despite the delivery of rich collaborative community of learning, it has been observed that a significant number of enrolled participants drop out and do not complete their course.[2],[3],[4] This dropout has been attributed to factors such as limited course content, minimal interaction with faculty members, poor digital/learning skills, low levels of personal motivation, and poor support.[3],[4],[5] These findings clearly suggest that before designing an e-learning course for medical students, there is an immense need for having a good team (namely, expertise and competence levels of the course administrators/technical support specialists), software (learning management system or other types of learning platforms) and hardware support.[1],[2],[3],[4]

Planning and implementation of an e-learning course

The first and foremost step for designing an e-learning course is to perform a needs assessment (viz., the necessity, of course, its scope, target audience, key features of the offered course, etc.).[1] This should be followed by deciding on the content of the course based on the needs assessment findings.[1],[2],[3] It is quite essential that the overall presentation of the course has to be appealing and interactive and should employ different teaching–learning methods.[2],[3] At the same time, it is one of the best practices to formulate the objectives for each session (viz., explicitly mention what is expected of the learners by the end of the session).[2],[3],[4]

Another potential factor for the success of the course is that the administrators should adhere to the principle of known to unknown, like starting with what is already known or by stimulation of the prior knowledge and then move toward what has to be taught.[3],[4],[5] At the same time, there has to be a mechanism/option for the enrolled students to seek clarifications for their doubts and the planned assignments should be simple, yet creative to assess the application of the gained knowledge.[2],[5] In addition, there has to be an inbuilt mechanism in the e-learning course for the learners to give feedback to the course organizers and hence that remedial measures can be planned.[3],[4] The course should be designed with periodically spaced assessments, and the students should also receive feedback about their performance and the areas in which they need to improve on.[6]


  Conclusion Top


E-learning courses in the field of medical education have revolutionized the entire practice of teaching–learning. However, the success of an e-learning program depends on the proper planning and keeping the course interactive.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Vaona A, Banzi R, Kwag KH, Rigon G, Cereda D, Pecoraro V, et al. E-learning for health professionals. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2018;1:CD011736.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
O'Hara C, Trotter L, Olsen C, Stinson D, McCutcheon K. Development of an e-learning programme to improve knowledge of interprofessional education. Br J Nurs 2018;27:1242-5.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Hoedebecke K, Mahmoud M, Yakubu K, Kendir C, D'Addosio R, Maria B, et al. Collaborative global health e-learning: A massive open online course experience of young family doctors. J Family Med Prim Care 2018;7:884-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
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4.
Sinclair PM, Levett-Jones T, Morris A, Carter B, Bennett PN, Kable A. High engagement, high quality: A guiding framework for developing empirically informed asynchronous e-learning programs for health professional educators. Nurs Health Sci 2017;19:126-37.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Degerfält J, Sjöstedt S, Fransson P, Kjellén E, Werner MU. E-learning programs in oncology: A nationwide experience from 2005 to 2014. BMC Res Notes 2017;10:39.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Oliveira AC, Mattos S, Coimbra M. Development and assessment of an e-learning course on pediatric cardiology basics. JMIR Med Educ 2017;3:e10.  Back to cited text no. 6
    




 

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