. 2017 Aug; 7(8):e016872.
doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-016872.

Interprofessional online learning for primary healthcare: findings from a scoping review

Scott Reeves 1 Simon Fletcher 1 Clodagh McLoughlin 2 Alastair Yim 3 Kunal D Patel 1 
  • PMID: 28780560
  •     28 References
  •     12 citations


Objectives: This article presents the findings from a scoping review which explored the nature of interprofessional online learning in primary healthcare. The review was informed by the following questions: What is the nature of evidence on online postgraduate education for primary healthcare interprofessional teams? What learning approaches and study methods are used in this context? What is the range of reported outcomes for primary healthcare learners, their organisations and the care they deliver to patients/clients?

Setting: The review explored the global literature on interprofessional online learning in primary healthcare settings.

Results: The review found that the 23 included studies employed a range of different e-learning methods with contrasting course durations, use of theory, participant mix, approaches to accreditation and assessment of learning. Most of the included studies reported outcomes associated with learner reactions and positive changes in participant attitudes/perceptions and improvement in knowledge/skills as a result of engagement in an e-learning course. In contrast, fewer studies reported changes in participant behaviours, changes in organisational practice and improvements to patients/clients.

Conclusions: A number of educational, methodological and outcome implications are be offered. E-learning can enhance an education experience, support development, ease time constraints, overcome geographic limitations and can offer greater flexibility. However, it can also contribute to the isolation of learners and its benefits can be negated by technical problems.

Keywords: Interprofessional education; online learning; interprofessional collaboration; primary health care; scoping review.

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