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Table of Contents
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 66-67

E-Learning in health professionals' education

Department of Pharmacology, KAHER's, J.N. Medical College, Belagavi, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission26-May-2020
Date of Decision03-Jun-2020
Date of Acceptance05-Jun-2020
Date of Web Publication03-Jul-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Nayana Hashilkar
Department of Pharmacology, J.N. Medical College, Belagavi, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijptr.ijptr_14_20

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How to cite this article:
Hashilkar N. E-Learning in health professionals' education. Indian J Phys Ther Res 2020;2:66-7

How to cite this URL:
Hashilkar N. E-Learning in health professionals' education. Indian J Phys Ther Res [serial online] 2020 [cited 2023 Jun 2];2:66-7. Available from: https://www.ijptr.org/text.asp?2020/2/1/66/288858

The last decade has witnessed tremendous changes in the education of health professionals. The rapidly growing science and the changes in the health-care delivery system pose an ever increasing demand on the academic faculty with time constraints in teaching. The changing trends in students learning pattern also demand innovative teaching–learning modalities. There is a shift occurring from teacher-led teaching to student-centered learning with more emphasis on self-directed learning. In addition, impact of technology in education has increased, as it is increased in day-to-day life due to e-revolution.[1] The current scenario, therefore, demands integration of innovative methods using technology like e-learning into present system of education for health professionals.

Electronic learning (E-learning) in its simplest form is the use of information and communication technologies in the educational process to support and enhance learning. It is often used as a complement to traditional teaching, referred to as blended learning.[2] E-learning is, therefore, referred to as online learning, computer-assisted instruction, or internet-based learning.[2]

Creating, managing, and delivering the content are the major components of E-learning. Content may include the instructional material based on specific learning objectives that can further be utilized to design various effective modules.[3] These may include PowerPoint presentation, tutorials, case-based learning, simulations, game-based learning, and web links.[3],[4] However, content management is the administrative responsibility to store, index, and catalog so that the content is made accessible to students in the form of portals, digital libraries, repositories, search engines, e-Portfolios, and learning management systems (LMS).[4] An LMS is a software that delivers learning contents, automates the administration, tracks the process, reports the training events, and assesses and tracks individual learning.[5] A number of such online LMS softwares are available, such as Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment, Blackboard, and G-Suite.[3]

Content once created may be delivered in a synchronous or asynchronous manner. Synchronous form is the one that is a real-time, teacher-led process during which all the students access the content simultaneously and also communicate with the instructor and other students. Examples of synchronous include tele-conferencing, internet chat forums, and instant messaging. Asynchronous form involves the process in which the learners access the content as per their convenience, so that deliver of content and its receipt by all learners does not happen simultaneously. The communication may occur through E-mail, online bulletin boards, listservs, newsgroups, weblogs, etc.[3]

Integrating the e-learning modules into the existing teaching schedule requires meticulous planning of the content, its management, and delivery. Interactive modules can be designed as a part of independent learning or to support an already existing course.[6] These modules can incorporate various strategies such as text introduction, PowerPoint presentations, photographs, video clips of demonstrations, links to e-books, internet sites, clinical guidelines, group activities, or exercises.[6] Various modalities that can be utilized in integrating e-learning include blended learning, flipped classroom, clinical decision support systems, skill laboratories, etc., Outcome of learning can be assessed online using an array of assessment methods. Knowledge can be assessed using tools such as multiple-choice questions, matching statements, online submissions of short notes and essays, debates, group discussions, self-assessment case studies, and problem-solving case studies. Simulators can be used to evaluate skills related to patient care such as clinical assessment of patients, critical event management, and skills associated with communication and interpersonal relationship.[7]

The framework of e-learning, therefore, offers numerous benefits. E-learning provides flexibility and accessibility that not only allows the students choose a place and time at their own convenience but also to access the content through mostly handheld gadgets. It offers flexibility to teachers to update and edit the content.[1] E-learning is cosmopolitan in nature as it can reach remote and rural areas and also help study rare cases and diseases restricted to certain geographical areas. It helps the students to develop the skills of self-directed learning. The advantage that content may be revisited any number of times and repetition allows student to learn the skills before actually encountering the real patients. As the content posted to all the students is same, uniform curriculum is maintained across the learners with attainment of uniform objectives.[1] Accompanying online assessment provides immediate feedback on occurrence and extent of learning.[4]

However, E-learning has not gained popularity as a major teaching–learning method due to certain hurdles faced in the implementation. Some issues are high cost to purchase the required hardware and software and their frequent upgradation. Lower speed or interruptions in the internet connectivity can lead to its suboptimal use. Safety and security of information is another issue that need latest antivirus software and operating systems.[1] Faculty has to be trained in designing and teaching e-modules. This, in turn, demands more faculty time and efforts with additional technical support. The attitude of the teachers to shift from traditional to newer platform acts as one of the main hurdles for the change. Another important barrier is lack of face-to-face interaction of the students with the instructor that might fail to make the students understand the complex topics.[1]

E-learning, with rapid changes occurring in technology, has the potential to change the trend in health professionals education. E-learning can be integrated into the existing undergraduate and postgraduated curriculum based on needs assessment. It can be included as a part of blended learning as a complement to traditional teaching. It can facilitate the learning in health professionals and create lifelong learners. However, well-planned scholarly activities are required to support its further integration into health professionals education.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Dhir SK, Verma D, Batta M, Mishra D. E-learning in medical education in India. Indian Pediatr 2017;54:871-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
Arkorful V, Abaidoo N. The role of e-learning, the advantages and disadvantages of its adoption in higher education. Int J Educ Res 2014;2:397-410.  Back to cited text no. 2
Ruiz JG, Mintzer MJ, Leipzig RM. The impact of E-learning in medical education. Acad Med 2006;81:207-12.  Back to cited text no. 3
Zehry K, Halder N, Theodosiou L. E-Learning in medical education in the United Kingdom. Procedia Soc Behav Sci 2011;15:3163-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
Back DA, Behringer F, Haberstroh N, Ehlers JP, Sostmann K, Peters H. Learning management system and e-learning tools: An experience of medical students' usage and expectations. Int J Med Educ 2016;7:267-73.  Back to cited text no. 5
Khogali SE, Davies DA, Donnan PT, Gray A, Harden RM, McDonald J, et al. Integration of e-learning resources into a medical school curriculum. Med Teach 2011;33:311-8.  Back to cited text no. 6
Ellaway R, Masters K. AMEE Guide 32: E-Learning in medical education Part 1: Learning, teaching and assessment. Med Teach 2008;30:455-73.  Back to cited text no. 7


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