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Potential and limitations of e-learning in emergency medicine
  1. David Roe1,
  2. Simon Carley2,
  3. Cathy Sherratt3
  1. 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Whiston Hospital, Warrington Road, Prescot, Merseyside L35 5DR, UK
  2. 2Department of Emergency Medicine, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester, UK
  3. 3Edge Hill University, St Helens Road, Ormskirk, L39 4QP, UK
  1. Correspondence to Prof Simon Carley, Centre for Effective Emergency Care, Manchester Metropolitan University, Elizabeth Gaskell Building, Hathersage Road, Manchester M130JA, UK; s.carley1{at}


This paper describes the potential benefits, pitfalls and barriers to adopting e-learning in emergency medicine. While the benefits relating to access, engagement and quality assurance are clear, caution is urged in embracing e-learning for e-learning's sake. It is argued that, if educational strategies are to change, this must be to the benefit of learners and not just for the convenience of access or record keeping. A variety of e-learning approaches are available, but those that promote group discussion or provide feedback from an educator are more likely to lead to successful learning than stand-alone feedback-free modules. A blended approach to learning is advocated where e-learning opportunities form an important but limited part of the overall educational experience. Shop floor and workshop-based teaching should be enhanced with e-learning, not replaced by it.

  • Paramedics, education

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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