E-learning on the road
Alan M. Batt1-4, Niamh M. Cummins4
1. Fanshawe College, London, ON, Canada; 2. Centre for Paramedic Education
and Research, Hamilton Health Sciences, ON, Canada; 3. National Ambulance
LLC, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; 4. Centre for Prehospital Research,
Graduate Entry Medical School, University of Limerick, Ireland.
•The impact of social media and online learning in health
professions education has previously shown generally
positive results in medical, nursing and pharmacy students.
•To date there has not been any extensive research into
social media and online learning use by prehospital health
care professionals such as paramedics.
•We sought to identify the extent to which Irish pre-hospital
practitioners make use of online learning and social media
for continuing professional competency (CPC), and the
means by which they do so.
National Alliance on Mental Illness, Pasco County, Florida
Materials and Methods
•A cross-sectional online survey of practitioners was
conducted to obtain both quantitative and qualitative data.
•No previous questionnaires investigating paramedics or
other healthcare professions similar use of social media for
continuous professional development or competency were
identified in the literature.
•Nationwide ethics approval was obtained from the
Research Ethics Committee of University Hospitals
Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.
•The release of the survey was in a controlled manner to
PHECC registrants via various channels.
•Participation was voluntary and anonymous.
Total respondents Male Female EMT Advanced
respondents Use mobile
•A total of 248 respondents completed the
survey in full, representing 5.4% of all
registrants at the time (n=4,555).
•Social media and online learning were
considered learning tools by over 75% of
•The majority of respondents (88%) viewed self-
directed activities to constitute continuous
professional development activity.
•Over 90% of respondents had previous
experience with online learning.
Social Media Results
050 100 150 200 250
Use for CPC Have an account
•The most commonly used platforms
were Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube
•The most popular platforms for
completing CPC activities were
YouTube, Facebook and Athens.
Advantages to online learning
•Ease of access
•Access to experts of all levels
• Don’t have to give up “personal time”
Disadvantages to online learning
•Can lack structure
•IT skills vary
•Broadband access in rural Ireland is an issue
•Management see it as a tool to replace direct
•Easy to lose focus
•Prehospital practitioners in Ireland in the population studied consider online learning and
social media acceptable for CPC purposes.
•Practitioners consider online learning that awards a certificate to be better value than self-
•Many Irish prehospital practitioners already use smartphones and tablets during their
everyday clinical practice, and providing learning and CPC resources that can be accessed
using these devices will make it easier for practitioners to maintain current competency.
•The main social media outlets used by PHECC registrants are YouTube and Facebook.
•The results of this study can be used to ensure educational interventions are targeted at
practitioners through the correct channels, and barriers are eliminated or overcome.