Evaluation of Technology-Enhanced Learning Programs for Health Care Professionals: Systematic Review

Pam Nicoll, Sandra MacRury, Hugo C van Woerden, Keith Smyth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)
201 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Technology-enhanced learning (TEL) programs are increasingly seen as the way in which education for health care professionals can be transformed, giving access to effective ongoing learning and training even where time or geographical barriers exist. Given the increasing emphasis on this mode of educational support for health care practitioners, it is vital that we can effectively evaluate and measure impact to ensure that TEL programs are effective and fit for purpose. This paper examines the current evidence base for the first time, in relation to the evaluation of TEL programs for health care professionals.

Objective: We conducted a systematic review of the current literature relating to the evaluation of TEL programs for health care professionals and critically appraised the quality of the studies.

Methods: This review employed specific search criteria to identify research studies that included evaluation of TEL for health care professionals. The databases searched included Medline Ovid, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature Plus Advanced, Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts, ZETOC, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Explore Digital Library, Allied and Complementary Medicine, and Education Resources Information Center between January 2006 and January 2017. An additional hand search for relevant articles from reference lists was undertaken. Each of the studies identified was critically appraised for quality using the Crowe Critical Appraisal Tool. This approach produced a percentage total score for each study across specified categories. A proportion of the studies were independently assessed by an additional two reviewers.

Results: The review identified 21 studies that met the inclusion criteria. The studies included scored totals across eight categories within a range of 37%-95% and an average score of 68%. Studies that measured TEL using learner satisfaction surveys, or combined pretest and posttest knowledge score testing with learner satisfaction surveys, were found to be the most common types of TEL evaluations evident in the literature. The studies reviewed had low scores across reporting on ethical matters, design, and data collection categories.

Conclusions: There continues to be a need to develop effective and standard TEL evaluation tools, and good quality studies that describe effective evaluation of TEL education for health care professionals. Studies often fail to provide sufficient detail to support transferability or direct future TEL health care education programs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e131
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2018


  • 23ref2021


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