Purpose: Computer-based training (CBT) systems offer the potential to efficiently support modern teaching and learning. However, it is still unknown if a similar efficient learning experience built on sound learning theories and corresponding design principles can be created in the complex health care environment. The purpose of this paper is to analyse to what extent learning theories and corresponding design principles are relevant and can successfully be applied in computer-based training in medicine.
Methods: We use the case-based CBT system CAMPUS as an example for a CBT system currently used to enhance the medical teaching and learning experience. We apply two well-accepted learning theories (Bloom's taxonomy and practice fields) and related design principles to determine to what extent they are relevant and fulfilled in the context of CAMPUS.
Results: We demonstrate that in principle these learning theories and design principles can be implemented using computer-based training. However, not all design principles can be fulfilled by the system alone; rather the integration of the system into adequate -- traditional or virtual -- teaching and learning environments is essential.
Conclusions: Traditional learning theories and design principles are a valuable means in designing adequate CBT systems in medicine. They can be successfully implemented in CBT systems for medical education if the system itself is adequately integrated into teaching and learning environments.