New South Wales Public Health Bulletin New South Wales Public Health Bulletin Society
Supporting public health practice in New South Wales
REVIEW

How does tele-learning compare with other forms of education delivery? A systematic review of tele-learning educational outcomes for health professionals

Jo Tomlinson A E , Tim Shaw A , Ana Munro A , Ros Johnson B , D. Lynne Madden C , Rosemary Phillips D and Deborah McGregor A

A Faculty of Medicine, The University of Sydney

B NSW Kids and Families, NSW Ministry of Health

C School of Medicine, Sydney, The University of Notre Dame (formerly Public Health Training and Workforce, NSW Ministry of Health)

D Statewide and Rural Health Service and Capital Planning, NSW Ministry of Health

E Corresponding author. Email: jo.tomlinson@sydney.edu.au

NSW Public Health Bulletin 24(2) 70-75 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/NB12076
Published: 7 November 2013

Abstract

Telecommuniciation technologies, including audio and videoconferencing facilities, afford geographically dispersed health professionals the opportunity to connect and collaborate with others. Recognised for enabling tele-consultations and tele-collaborations between teams of health care professionals and their patients, these technologies are also well suited to the delivery of distance learning programs, known as tele-learning. Aim: To determine whether tele-learning delivery methods achieve equivalent learning outcomes when compared with traditional face-to-face education delivery methods. Methods: A systematic literature review was commissioned by the NSW Ministry of Health to identify results relevant to programs applying tele-learning delivery methods in the provision of education to health professionals. Results: The review found few studies that rigorously compared tele-learning with traditional formats. There was some evidence, however, to support the premise that tele-learning models achieve comparable learning outcomes and that participants are generally satisfied with and accepting of this delivery method. Conclusion: The review illustrated that tele-learning technologies not only enable distance learning opportunities, but achieve comparable learning outcomes to traditional face-to-face models. More rigorous evidence is required to strengthen these findings and should be the focus of future tele-learning research.


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