Quality specifications in postgraduate medical e-learning: an integrative literature review leading to a postgraduate medical e-learning model

R A De Leeuw, Michiel Westerman, E Nelson, J C F Ket, F Scheele

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: E-learning is driving major shifts in medical education. Prioritizing learning theories and quality models improves the success of e-learning programs. Although many e-learning quality standards are available, few are focused on postgraduate medical education.

METHODS: We conducted an integrative review of the current postgraduate medical e-learning literature to identify quality specifications. The literature was thematically organized into a working model.

RESULTS: Unique quality specifications (n = 72) were consolidated and re-organized into a six-domain model that we called the Postgraduate Medical E-learning Model (Postgraduate ME Model). This model was partially based on the ISO-19796 standard, and drew on cognitive load multimedia principles. The domains of the model are preparation, software design and system specifications, communication, content, assessment, and maintenance.

CONCLUSION: This review clarified the current state of postgraduate medical e-learning standards and specifications. It also synthesized these specifications into a single working model. To validate our findings, the next-steps include testing the Postgraduate ME Model in controlled e-learning settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168
JournalBMC Medical Education
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2016



  • Clinical Competence
  • Communication
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction
  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Medical Errors
  • Patient Simulation
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Software Design
  • Journal Article
  • Review

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