Background: Problem-Based Learning (PBL) has been used as an effective pedagogy approach in medical education for over 40 years. It is based on the assumptions that learning is a constructive, collaborative, contextual and self-directed process.
As technology advances, the integration of eLearning technologies with effective pedagogical approaches has the potential to deliver the effective teaching strategy required to address the need of healthcare workforce demand in term of quality and quantity.
Objectives: The objective of this review was to evaluate the effectiveness of e-PBL interventions for delivering pre-registration and post-registration healthcare professional education. We primarily assessed the impact of these interventions on learners’ knowledge, skills, attitudes and satisfaction. Additionally, we also aim to assess the economic impact (cost and cost effectiveness) and potential unintended or adverse effects of e-PBL based educational interventions.
Methods: MEDLINE (Ovid), EMBASE (Elsevier), the Cochrane Central (Wiley), PsychINFO (Ovid), ERIC (Ovid), CINAHL (Ebsco) and Web of Science Core Collection (Thomson Reuters) were searched for studies on eLearning from 1990 to August 2016.
Results: The search strategy yielded the total of 25 739 records and 15 RCTs were included. The majority of the included studies (86%) were focusing on pre-registration health professional education and most of the participants were medical students (84%). Online eLearning was the common mode of intervention to deliver learning content in combination with PBL approach.
Conclusions: Our preliminary results suggested that the use of e-PBL in medical education is promising, specifically for pre-registration medical education. However, the overall quality of evidence was low for the included studies due to unclear risk of bias, inconsistency and indirectness. More high-quality research is need in this area particularly on the effective of e-PBL in post-registration medical education.