Taking a broad, global and systematic approach to eLearning evidence synthesis for health professionals: progress from our Cochrane collaboration research initiative

May 19, 9:45 AM – 11:15 AM

Anneliese May Lilienthal, MS1, Josip Car2, MD, PhD, Nabil Zary, MD, PhD1, Stephen Tay2, PhD
1Karolinska Institutet, 2Nanyang Technological University

ICT is being lauded for its potential to deliver education globally. Meanwhile, the field of medicine is increasingly evidence-based. Just as meta-analysis of clinical interventions drives decision making in health care, we must also consider the evidence and impact of health education technology on our current and future health professionals.

From this need arose a research collaboration of diverse disciplines, institutions and cultures, and which pools methodological and content expertise from several international sites. The aim is to evaluate the efficacy of eLearning health education interventions by considering their impact on student knowledge, skills, attitudes and satisfaction.

Evidence will be gathered for pre- and post-registration health professional studies in the areas of: networked and non-networked computer based education, immersive virtual reality environments, patient simulations, psychomotor skills trainers, digital game based learning, MOOCs, and mLearning.

A tiered research approach is being applied, including: Cochrane systematic reviews of RCT and cluster RCTs for data analysis; Cochrane+ reviews with expanded criteria to allow other experimental study designs, i.e. control before and after, or interrupted time series; and a final broader evidence synthesis to include qualitative evidence of eLearning barriers and facilitators. Currently 10 Cochrane protocols are being submitted to peer review, with potential for upwards of 50 reviews across all tiers. 

The resulting evidence will support future implementation of educational technology in the health sciences globally, with plans for regular updates with future evidence. The results will also highlight areas needing further research.