E-learning is an established concept in oncological education and training. However, there seems to be a scarcity of long-term assessments of E-learning programs in oncology vis-á-vis their structural management and didactic value. This study presents descriptive, nationwide data from 2005 to 2014. E-learning oncology programs in chemotherapy, general oncology, pain management, palliative care, psycho-social-oncology, and radiotherapy, were reviewed from our databases. Questionnaires of self-perceived didactic value of the programs were examined 2008–2014.
The total number of trainees were 4693, allocated to 3889 individuals. The trainees included medical doctors (MDs; n = 759), registered nurses (RNs; n = 2359), radiation therapy technologists (n = 642), and, social and health care assistants (SHCAs; n = 933). The E-learning covered 29 different program classifications, comprising 731 recorded presentations, and covering 438 themes. A total of 490 programs were completed by the trainees. The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS; 1 ECTS point equals 0.60 US College Credit Hours) points varied across the educational programs from 0.7 to 30.0, corresponding to a duration of full-time studies ranging between 15 to 900 h (0.4–24 weeks) per program. The total number of ECTS points for the trainee cohort, was 20,000 corresponding to 530,000 full-time academic hours or 324.0 standard academic working years. The overall drop-out rate, across professions and programs, was 10.6% (499/4693). The lowest drop-out rate was seen for RNs (4.3%; P < 0.0001). Self-reported evaluation questionnaires (2008–2014) were completed by 72.1% (2642/3666) of the trainees. The programs were overall rated, on a 5-categorical scale (5 = excellent; 1 = very inferior), as excellent by 68.6% (MDs: 64.9%; RNs: 66.8%; SHCAs: 77.7%) and as good by 30.6% (MDs: 34.5%; RNs: 32.4%; SHCAs: 21.5%) of the responders.
This descriptive study, performed in a lengthy timeframe, presents high-volume data from multi-professional, oncological E-learning programs. While the E-learning paradigm, across professions, seems to have been well received, it is imperative that prospective studies, benchmarking against traditional training methods, are carried out, examining the hypothesized didactic value of our E-programs.
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