Perspectives from European Esther Alliance Partners

E-Learning and Continuous Education within the Health Facility Setting

Executive Summary

Recognizing the importance and need to use Information and Communication Technology within its health projects, the European ESTHER Alliance developed a joint ICT & Health Strategy with representatives from France, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Portugal and Switzerland

The present study aims to assess the needs in continuous education and the quality of eLearning tools used in health facilities in European ESTHER Alliance partner countries, both in Europe and Africa. The report presents an assessment of the current e-Learning environment; the opportunities and challenges of further developing specific e-Learning methods in the health facility setting; the continuous education needs of healthcare professionals and other hospital personnel; the current and future interest and capacity in further developing e-Learning initiatives; the state of cooperation between partner institutions; and the state of IT and internet access and use.

The study was designed as a mixed-methods research, relying on both quantitative and qualitative methods to explore the current e-Learning landscape in Europe and Africa. Collecting data on the general trends (quantitative) as well as more in-depth explanatory information (qualitative), supports a holistic understanding of stakeholders’ perceptions on eLearning. A total of 230 people participated in the study.

Findings show a weak policy environment in e-Health in most African countries and a lack of infrastructure and personnel to support e-Learning activities. However, the interest in and use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to support training and communication among health professionals is increasing at a steady pace. Chapter 3 and 4 present in detail the perspectives of health facility personnel on the future of e-Learning in the health facility setting.

Based on study findings, this report recommends the EEA to further invest and support eLearning as a relevant approach to providing knowledge and skills exchange among health facility staff, with a preference for interactive methods such as Telemedicine. E-Learning tools offer many possibilities for under resourced health systems, but their design and implementation should be carried out through participatory and collaborative means to ensure they reflect context specific needs as well as limitations.

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