Ali S, Gulliver S, Uppal M A conceptual framework highlighting e-learning implementation barriers. Info Tech People. 2018; 31:(1)156-180

Exclusive: most NHS computers running decade-old version of Windows. 2020. (accessed 10 April 2020)

Fletcher S, McLoughlin C, Patel K, Reeves S, Yim A Interprofessional online learning for primary healthcare: findings from a scoping review. BMJ Open. 2017; 7

Health Education England, Royal College of Nursing. Improving digital literacy. 2017. (accessed 11 April 2020)

Health Education England. Digital literacy capability framework. 2018. (accessed 11 April 2020)

Health Education England. E-learning for healthcare: about us. 2020a. (accessed 9 April 2020)

Health Education England. E-learning for healthcare: coronavirus. 2020b. (accessed 7 April 2020)

Health Education England, FutureLearn and University of Manchester. FutureLearn. AI for healthcare: equipping the workforce for digital transformation. 2020. (accessed 8 April 2020)

Synchronous and asynchronous e-learning. 2008. (accessed 11 April 2020)

Kuek A, Hakkennes S Healthcare staff digital literacy levels and their attitudes towards information systems. Health Informatics Journal. 2019;

McCutcheon K A leadership framework to support the use of e-learning resources. Nurs Manage. 2014; 21:(3)24-28

National Audit Office. Investigation: WannaCry cyber attack and the NHS. 2017. (accessed 10 April 2020)

Nursing and Midwifery Council. Emergency standards for nursing and midwifery education. 2020a. (accessed 27 April 2020)

Nursing and Midwifery Council. Joint statement on expanding the nursing workforce in the COVID-19 outbreak. 2020b. (accessed 27 April 2020)

Office for National Statistics. Internet access-households and individuals, 2019. 2019. (accessed 11 April 2020)

Queen's Nursing Institute. District nursing today: the view of district nurse team leaders in the UK. 2019. (accessed 13 April 2020)

Regmi K, Jones L A systematic review of the factors-enablers and barriers-affecting e-learning in health sciences education. BMC Medical Education. 2020; 20

Ruggeri K, Farrington C, Brayne C A global model for effective use and evaluation for e-learning in health. Telemed J E Health. 2013; 19:(4)312-321

Sangrà A, Vlachopoulos D, Cabrera N Building an inclusive definition of e-learning: an approach to the conceptual framework. Int Rev Res Open Distant Learn. 2013; 13:145-159

Shahabadi M, Uplance M Synchronous and asynchronous e-learning styles and academic performance of e-learners. Proc Soc Behav Sci. 2015; 176:129-138

Skills for Health. Core skills framework. 2019. (accessed 11 April 2020)

Vaona A, Banzi R, Kwag KH E-learning for health professionals. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018; 1

Varghese J, Rengaramanujam K, Swaminathan N, Vishal K, Romer M Knowledge and perception of physiotherapy by final year students of various health care professions. Int J Ther Rehab. 2012; 18:(11)613-617

World Health Organization. Framework for action on interprofessional education and collaborative practice. 2010. (accessed 11 April 2020)

World Health Organization. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) training: online training. 2020. (accessed 27 April 2020)

E-learning in a new era: enablers and barriers to its implementation in nursing

02 June 2020
Volume 25 · Issue 6


During these uncertain and unprecedented times, the use of technology has become paramount to staying connected to friends, family, work and society. Social distancing has forced a huge digital transformation to take place, and this will inevitably change the way we work, particularly within healthcare. One dramatic change is the reliance upon e-learning, which is now the preferred method of teaching and training. This article will explore both the benefits and barriers to e-learning, drawing upon the author's experience as a digital project nurse who aided with the implementation of e-learning for community nurses.

E-learning can be defined as delivering training using technology, such as virtual learning environments (VLEs), the internet, social media or mobile applications (Ruggeri et al, 2013). E-learning can also be split into two distinctive categories in terms of how it is delivered and the role of the student and/or facilitator. Synchronous learning is facilitated by a teacher, is usually scheduled and takes place in real time. The technology used serves as an additional resource to the teacher, as opposed to replacing the facilitator, and learners can interact with one another (Shahabadi and Uplance, 2015). An example of this would be using teleconferencing to conduct a lesson, which is commonplace in the ongoing lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand, asynchronous learning is more flexible, as it can be completed at any time or place convenient to the student. It also relies on the student being adequately motivated to self-study (Hratinski, 2008). An example of this would be a mandatory online course about adult safeguarding. However, when conducting a systematic review around e-learning for health professionals, Vaona et al (2018) found that there is no standardised definition for e-learning at present. Since e-learning is often used to describe a range of methods using technology to educate people (Regmi and Jones, 2020), Sangrà et al (2012) suggested that no one definition can truly capture what e-learning is, since it is a term used in so many different professions and contexts.

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting Community Nursing and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for district and community nurses. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to clinical or professional articles

  • New content and clinical newsletter updates each month