E-learning for education in primary healthcare - Turning the hype into reality: A Delphi study

Jochen Gensichen*, Horst Christian Vollmar, Andreas Sönnichsen, Uta Maria Waldmann, John Sandars

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: E-learning has the potential to provide effective education for general practice, but there are significant difficulties that must be overcome. Design: We initiated a two-round Delphi study, aiming to identify expectations and barriers to e-learning in primary healthcare education. Methods: We distributed questionnaires to 60 primary care experts who are also experts in the field of e-learning. Their responses were independently analysed by two of the authors (J.G., H.C.V.) and were clustered to form 32 themes. These were fed back to the participants in a second postal questionnaire with the objective of reaching agreement or disagreement, with a cut-off of 80%. Results: The response rate was 67% (n = 40) in the first and 60% (n = 36) in the second round. The extent of agreement reached ranged from 8% ("e-learning is displacing practical teaching and learning") to 97% ("e-learning needs convincing didactical concepts"). Agreement was high with the themes "e-learning gets a new focus by mixed learning concepts" and "users will have a higher level of media competence 5 years from now" (94% each). There was a positive attitude to e-learning, but there was concern about the lack of orientation towards users' needs and the poor development of innovative didactical concepts. In implementing e-learning in primary care, education should be independent of financial influence from the healthcare industry in order to eliminate conflicts of interest. Conclusion: The experts' responses show that e-learning in primary healthcare education can contribute substantially to undergraduate, graduate, and continuing medical education, and should therefore be evaluated in systematic studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-14
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of General Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2009


  • E-learning
  • Medial education [MeSH]
  • Primary health care [MeSH]


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