Perceptions and impact of mandatory eLearning for foundation trainee doctors: a qualitative evaluation

Hannah Brooks, Sarah Pontefract, Hannah Vallance, Christine Hirsch, Elizabeth Hughes, Robin Ferner, John Marriott, Jamie Coleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Junior doctors in the UK must complete various educational components during their two year Foundation training programme. It is important that mandatory learning is informative and engaging. The aim of this study was to evaluate trainee doctors’ perceptions of a Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) programme developed to improve prescribing competency.
Method: Focus groups and interviews were conducted at three hospital sites in the West Midlands. Codes, sub-themes and themes were determined using deductive and inductive thematic analysis.

Results: Data were collected from 38 Foundation trainee doctors. Results revealed major themes relating to prescribing education, the user experience and user engagement. Key findings included the positive impact of preparedness following undergraduate education on the user experience of the TEL programme at the postgraduate level; the impact of content, structure, and individual learning needs and styles on the user experience; and the impact of motivation and time on engagement. Most trainees engaged with the programme owing to its mandatory nature; however, some trainees also used the programme voluntarily, for example, to acquire knowledge prior to starting a new placement.

Conclusions: It is important to ensure that learners are willing to engage with mandatory TEL, and that they have the time and motivation to do so. It is also important to ensure that learners have a positive user experience and that in designing TEL individual differences in learning styles and needs are taken into account. These findings have implications for educators and system developers in the construction and design of mandatory eLearning programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0168558
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2016


  • rMedical education
  • Pescribing
  • ELearning
  • Evaluation
  • Engagement
  • Qualitative research methods


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