Objectives: Paediatric emergency medicine (PEM) currently faces many competing educational challenges. Recent changes to the working patterns have made the delivery of effective teaching to trainees extremely difficult. We developed a virtual learning environment, on the basis of socioconstructivist principles, which allows learning to take place regardless of time or location. The aim was to evaluate the effectiveness of a blended e-learning approach for PEM training.
Methods: We evaluated the experiences of ST3 trainees in PEM using a multimodal approach. We classified and analysed message board discussions over a 6-month period to look for evidence of practice change and learning. We conducted semistructured qualitative interviews with trainees approximately 5 months after they completed the course.
Results: Trainees embraced the virtual learning environment and had positive experiences of the blended approach to learning. Socioconstructivist learning did take place through the use of message boards on the virtual learning environment. Despite their initial unfamiliarity with the online learning system, the participants found it easy to access and use. The participants found the learning relevant and there was an overlap between shop floor learning and the online content. Clinical discussion was often led by trainees on the forums and these were described as enjoyable and informative.
Conclusion: A blended approach to e-learning in basic PEM is effective and enjoyable to trainees.