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Exploring the use of asynchronous online discussion in health care education: A literature review

Computers & Education Volume 69, Number 1, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


This paper highlights the different options associated with asynchronous online discussion (AOD) use in health care education which may have an impact on their effectiveness. The review was carried out following a search of specific databases, websites, key journals, references and key authors. All studies published between 2006 and 2012 that met specific inclusion/exclusion criteria were subject to quality appraisal. Fourteen studies met the quality appraisal criteria: six qualitative, four quasi-experimental, one observational and three mixed methods. Data extraction coupled with narrative synthesis enabled the description of options that emerged and exploration of the relationships within and between studies. Study design as well as methodological quality was mixed. However, several useful factors emerged which may impact on effectiveness. These include (a) the mode of e-moderation (b) provision of AOD for participants in the clinical setting to critically reflect, analyse and resolve clinical issues and (c) increased amount of time spent reading the AOD (but not the number of discussion ‘hits’). Research in this area appears to be in its infancy and one of the main recommendations is that further studies are required which focus on comparing the same type of AOD with and without a specific intervention in order to make any robust conclusions.


Thomas, J. (2013). Exploring the use of asynchronous online discussion in health care education: A literature review. Computers & Education, 69(1), 199-215. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved February 28, 2021 from .

This record was imported from Computers & Education on January 29, 2019. Computers & Education is a publication of Elsevier.

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