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Theory to practise using e learning


are there any documented research examples of use of electronic / computer based learning increasing skill retention?
I am using computer generated medical training scenarios to increase cognition of medical guidelines and procedures, but desperately need to know are there theories where the Theory -practise gap has been enhanced using electronic media.

any help greatfully received
David Halliwell

7 Responses

  1. Research
    Have a look at this link,
    also the Open Universities’ Gilly Salmon has produced a lot of work on E-learning and the format that works and her research can be found on the OU site in full.

    If I find anything else statistical I will let you have it. In the meantime can you let us know the sort of e-learning computer training you are working with? I haven’t heard about it being used on live medical procedures but was aware that in the states they have developed an autopsy role play e-learning training package.

    Training by Design Global Ltd

  2. Job Impact Study
    You may also care to look at the Job Impact Study from Thomson NETg ( This compared differing approaches to using e-learning.

    I’m not sure, however, if this really reveals a theory, other than the benefits of blended learning, but it would provide you with useful proof of concept data.

    I am using technology delivered courses that lead into a classroom course, supported by online transfer of learning activities to achieve the result of increasing retention and improving the deployment of the new skills and knowledge back on the job.

    I am aware of some medical training taking place via virtual classrooms in the US, where students observe clinical operations in progress and have even interacted with the surgeon during the operation!

  3. HE sources of evidence
    Might be worth contacting the Learning & Teaching Support Network for medicine in higher education:
    Other good sources of research are British Educational Communications & Technology Agency (Becta), Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) (HE&FE) and Association of Learning Technologies (ALT) (Phew!) Lastly, I work on a college-focussed site about teaching and technology that includes lots of case studies Hope that helps … !

    Amber Thomas
    Ferl Content Editor

  4. Proof Is Hard To Find
    Having researched this in the past, I have always found research on skills implementation hard to find. This may be due to the focus of e-Learning providers on knowledge attainment rather than skills development – too often people leave with new knowledge but little understanding of how to apply or use it – and nearly never have the opportunity to practice.

    I have a lot of anecdotal ‘proof’ including systems training in the Air Force, Till training in retail and Patient Profiles for Medical Representatives. The way I sold this into clients was to look for research on face-to-face role plays and enhance it by the computer providing a non-threatening environment.

    Finally, I found the site below on Macromedia’s showcase, it gives an example of (even though its a little dry) simulation / role play in the medical field.

    Hope this helps.

  5. Research on blended learning
    Probably best to look at how e-learning might enhance an overall learning experience. There is evidence of more success with the integrated (blended) approach:

    Research by Olivero, Bane and Kopelman (1997) found that executive coaching increased public sector employee productivity by 88% after 8 weeks one-on-one coaching, compared to an increase of 22% by training alone.

    This has been corroborated by others. A course developed by The Securities Institute in partnership with Wide Learning had a 63% pass rate using traditional training methods. This was increased to 88% using ‘blended’ learning.

    Research comparing e-learning, classroom learning and integrated learning by Professor Murray Goldberg of the University of British Columbia showed “staggering” improvements using integrated delivery techniques.

    Try also

  6. Off Topic
    I have to take issue with Paul Allman over his use of the term ‘knowledge’. This is the understanding of the application of ‘information’, which is what many people leave a learning environment with and may have been a more appropriate term in this instance. Sorry Paul.

  7. update to previous
    To hose who have already suplied advice… thank you, many have asked exactly what i am trying to achieve. I teach skills to Medical Doctors, and am interested in extending clinical skill retention by use of a patient simulator, such as the one at which i use.
    I am trying to set up a research study, but am desperately seeking litterature which proves / suggests that e learning increases skill retention, or that mentally using such technology directly relates to patient care.
    With resuscitation for example, clinical skills tend to tail off after 6 weeks and are deemed pretty much forgotten at 6 months.
    My proposal is to design technology that would become mandatory fo all staff to use monthly, and which would extend the viability of hands on training.

    I hope this helps.

    If you know anybody / anything that could help I would be keen to talk.




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