Challenges to Interprofessional Education: will e-Learning be the Magical Stick?

Adv Med Educ Pract. 2021 Apr 1;12:329-336. doi: 10.2147/AMEP.S273033. eCollection 2021.


Purpose: In Egypt, the main challenges to interprofessional education (IPE) implementation are complexity of the required curricular design, the attitudinal barriers between professions, and the needed resources. Action research work was planned and implemented to identify alternative solutions to overcome barriers to IPE in the local Egyptian context.

Methods: -An 8-week e-learning elective course was developed, implemented, and evaluated. A mixed group of 30 nursing and medical students was enrolled voluntarily in the course. Female to male ratio was 3:2. Four faculty members were assigned to manage the course. Based on the EMRO-WHO guidelines, ethics content was selected and organized. A closed Facebook group was created and utilized as the e-learning platform. Facilitated large-group and case-based discussions were the main instructional methods. Scoring of mixed small group assignments was the main assessment tool. Course evaluation was conducted using the Interprofessional Socialization and Valuing Scale (ISVS) and an Online-Course Evaluation Questionnaire (OCEQ).

Results: ISVS results revealed that students' perception of ability, comfort and value in working with others, were all positive. The OCEQ provided additional evidence regarding the satisfaction of students with the Facebook group as a learning platform. Assignment submission rate was 90%. Success rate of small group assignments (scores ≥ 60%) was 100%. Response rate to the open online discussions was 63%. Through peer evaluation as well as direct observation of online discussions, there was evidence of distinct contributions by females and by medical students compared to nursing students.

Conclusion: As evidenced by the students' perception and performance, our IPE distance learning experience was valuable. Motivation of medical students as well as females was evident. IPE is a challenging process. The elective approach and using DL can offer solutions. Conducting relevant practical sessions as well as sustainability of this IPE e-learning experience remain key challenges.

Keywords: adult learning; cooperative/collaborative learning; distance education and online learning; teaching/learning strategies.