Summary: E-Learning with virtual teammates: A novel approach tointerprofessional education

By | 12th July 2015
The Institute of Medicine identified interprofessional education (IPE) as a key innovation for achieving the triple aim of better care, better outcomes and reduced health care costs. Yet, a shortage of qualified faculty and difficulty with aligning learners’ schedules often prevent sustainable and scalable IPE. 
A virtual IPE intervention was developed to circumvent these barriers and compared to a blended-learning IPE intervention. Djukic and colleagues recently used a pre-test and post-test design with two comparison interventions to test the effects of these IPE interventions on changes in teamwork knowledge, skills and attitudes. The interventions were delivered to pre-licensure learners at a large, metropolitan medical and a nursing school. The study used one-sample and independent-sample t-tests to analyze data from 220 learners who received the blended-learning intervention in 2011 and 540 learners who received the virtual learning intervention in 2012.
Interestingly, study results suggested the students in the blended-learning intervention did not significantly (p< 0.05) outperform the students in the virtual learning intervention for any of the measured outcomes, except for medical students’ attitudes around team value. 
These findings support virtual IPE learning as an effective, scalable, and sustainable solution for imparting foundational teamwork knowledge in health profession students.

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