ABSTRACT: The effectiveness of internet-based e-learning on clinician behavior and patient outcomes: a systematic review protocol
The objective of this systematic review is to identify, appraise and synthesize the best available evidence for the effectiveness of internet-based e-learning programs on health care professional behavior and patient outcomes.
Technological innovation has not only impacted social change in recent years but has been the prime driver of educational transformation.The newest consumers of post-secondary education, the so-called ‘digital natives’, have come to expect education to be delivered in a way that offers increased usability and convenience. Health care professionals (HCPs) in the clinical setting, particularly those in rural and remote communities, are no different. Today’s health workforce has a professional responsibility to maintain competency in practice through achieving a minimum number of hours of continuing professional development. Consequently, HCPs seeking professional development opportunities are reliant on sourcing these independently according to individual learning needs. However, difficulties exist in some health professionals’ access to ongoing professional development opportunities, particularly those with limited access face-to-face educationdue to geographical isolation or for those not enrolled in a formal program of study.These issues challenge traditional methods of teaching delivery; electronic learning (e-learning) is at the nexus of overcoming these challenges.The term e-learning originated in the mid-1990s as the internet began to gather momentum.Electronic learning can be broadly defined as any type of educational media that is delivered in an electronic form.Terms such as computer-assisted learning, online learning, web-based learning and e-learning are often used synonymously but all reflect knowledge transfer via an electronic device. This broad definition allows for a gamut of multimedia to be used for the purpose of constructing and assessing knowledge.