ABSTRACT: Low fidelity, high quality: a model for e-learning.
Background: E-learning continues to proliferate as a method to deliver continuing medical education. The effectiveness of e-learning has been widely studied, showing that it is as effective as traditional forms of education. However, most reports focus on whether the e-learning is effective, rather than discussing innovations to allow clinical educators to ask ‘how’ and ‘why’ it is effective, and to facilitate local reproduction. Context: Previous work has set out a number of barriers to the introduction of e-learning interventions. Cost, the time to produce interventions, and the training requirements for educators and trainees have all been identified as barriers. We set out to design an e-learning intervention on paediatric prescribing that could address these issues using a low-fidelity approach, and report our methods so as to allow interested readers to use a similar approach. Innovation: Using low-cost, readily accessible tools and applying appropriate educational theory, the intervention was produced in a short period of time. As part of a randomised controlled trial, long-term retention of prescribing skills was demonstrated, with significantly higher prescribing skill scores in the e-learning group at 4 and 12 weeks (p < 0.0001). Feedback was universally positive, with Likert responses suggesting that it was useful, convenient and easy to use. Implications: A low-fidelity approach to designing can successfully overcome many of the barriers to the introduction of e-learning. The design model described is simple and can be used by clinical teachers to support local development. Further research could investigate the experiences of these clinicians using this method of instructional design