From today’s Australian Doctor:
“Online medical education is as effective as traditional methods, a meta-analysis suggests.
“Internet-based education had become an increasingly popular approach to medical education, the authors said, but concerns about the effectiveness of online learning had stimulated a growing body of research.
“The meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (10 September) found internet-based learning was associated with large positive effects compared with no intervention and had a similar effectiveness to traditional methods.
“’Internet-based education permits learners to participate at a time and place convenient to them, facilitates instructional methods that might be difficult in other formats, and has the potential to tailor instruction to individual learners’ needs,’ the authors said.
“Professor Ian Wilson, professor of medical education, University of Western Sydney, said the internet was an effective teaching tool, but the medium worked best when used in conjunction with face-to-face teaching.
“Although the online environment had improved markedly over the past five years to play an increasingly important training role, he said the quality of the education provided on the internet was sometimes inadequate.
“’Sometimes people get so enamoured with the technology that they forget about the underlying education principles,’ he said.
“Internet learning was more suited to some areas than others, Professor Wilson said.
“’Certainly online learning packages that work in isolation work much better for knowledge-based material,’ he said.”