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Journal Article

On the Road to Virtual Europe — Redux  pp297-304

Andy Pulman

© Feb 2008 Volume 5 Issue 4, e-Learning in Health Care, Editor: Pam Moule, pp251 - 304

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Abstract

Virtual Europe is a web‑based European community from which health education scenarios may be accessed for learning and teaching purposes. Featuring a map giving access to country specific resources, it is populated with different cultural case studies allowing contrasts between cultures to be examined. For example, a student could evaluate the differences between UK, Belgium and Dutch approaches to the care of a patient in a particular situation. The project is initially funded by the Consortium of Institutes of Higher Education in Health and Rehabilitation In Europe (Cohehre). This paper offers a unique view on the benefits and limitations surrounding the development and implementation of a European health based virtual community. How will it facilitate the elimination of barriers for international mobility of students and staff? How easy is it to integrate into differing European health curricula? How does it compare to the experiences offered by new virtual environments? During the first year, the pilot version of Virtual Europe was created incorporating cardiac and burns case studies. During the second year of the project, the aim is to refine the pilot and incorporate further case studies. During the third year of the project, Virtual Europe will be utilised within partner institutions as a learning and teaching tool. The project team are working to evaluate the user‑friendliness of the system on an on‑going basis encouraging feedback from the students and academics that will use it. Tutorials will be used to evaluate how successfully lecturers are able to utilise and integrate it within their curriculum. Evaluation will be iterative and formative, with feedback used to identify potential changes that will be incorporated into subsequent pilots, group sessions and system enhancements. The paper presents a cogent and stimulating analysis of an e‑Learning virtual health education project which is interprofessional in outlook; interdisciplinary in approach; intercultural in background; interactive in design and international in scope.

 

Keywords: interprofessional, simulated community, health education, Virtual Europe, intercultural, international

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 5 Issue 4, e-Learning in Health Care / Dec 2007  pp251‑304

Editor: Pam Moule

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Editorial

E‑learning is viewed as one way to support the development of healthcare professionals, offering flexible access to materials which enable practitioners to meet life‑long learning agendas. As a consequence a number of health professionals and health care institutions are looking to technology to provide necessary education, training materials and opportunities for personal and professional development and growth. The growing impetus to develop and embrace e‑learning in health care led to the convening of a mini‑track at the 6th European Conference on E‑Learning (ECEL) held in Denmark in 2007 and to invitations to support this Special Edition of the journal.

The papers present current international developments in the sector and capture the range of engagement in e‑learning from the instructivist provision of information through to engaging students in constructivist learning online. A range of health care professions is also represented in the discussions, as are differing education levels, from undergraduate to post graduate students and practitioners. Mohammed, Waddington and Donnan describe the use of an Internet broadband link to stream a ‘real time’ workshop to physiotherapists, whilst Burgess presents the use of e‑learning in a Nurse Prescribing Programme as part of a blended learning approach. Learner engagement through interactive online packages is described by Gilchrist and Lockyer et al. The paper by Lockyer et al additionally explores issues of transferring e‑learning into practice and the potential effects on patient care, a much under‑researched area. Pulman presents the benefits and limitations of project Virtual Europe, case scenarios that encourage learners to construct their learning through evaluating different approaches to health care across Europe. The final paper by Courtney focuses on the use of e‑learning by lecturing staff in health care. The use of an online Community of Practice to support lecturers developing Learning Objects (LOs) is considered and discussions developed to consider the role of LOs in practice education.

 

Keywords: Box and whisker plot, Boxplots, cancer care, clinical education, Communities of Practice, community development support, Designated Medical Practitioner, educators, e-learning, evaluation, face-to-face, health education, interactions, intercultural, international, internet broadband, Interprofessional learning, interprofessional Learning Objects, Interprofessional Practice, Learning Objects, nurse prescribing, nursing education, qualitative research, real-time, Reified Objects, Reusable learning object, simulated community, telemedicine, videoconferencing, Virtual Europe, workplace learning

 

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