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Use of web based systems to support postgraduate medical education
  1. C Tochel1,
  2. K Beggs1,
  3. A Haig1,
  4. J Roberts2,
  5. H Scott3,
  6. K Walker4,
  7. M Watson1
  1. 1NHS Education for Scotland, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2Department of Medical Education, NHS Education for Scotland, Wishaw, UK
  3. 3West of Scotland Deanery, NHS Education for Scotland, Glasgow, UK
  4. 4Scottish Foundation School, NHS Education for Scotland, Aberdeen, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Claire Tochel, NHS Education for Scotland, Floor 5, Thistle House 91 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh, EH12 5HD, UK; c.tochel{at}


Background To meet the demands of delivering the Foundation programme across a geographically diverse country, two web based systems (ePortfolio and eLearning) were developed to promote accessibility to training material and assessment tools on standardised platforms. This study evaluated the use of both tools throughout an entire academic year.

Methods All Scottish Foundation trainees' online learning and assessment data in 2007/08 were analysed, providing a national breakdown of post specialty, completion rates of mandatory assessments (including summary analysis of anonymised scores), and trainees' use of non-mandatory learning tools. Independent verification of competence data was sought from Deaneries.

Results There were high levels of engagement with both the ePortfolio (75–97% assessment completion) and eLearning systems (89–98% induction course completion), and the majority of trainees completed all required elements. There was extensive use of ePortfolio beyond mandatory levels for recording of learning events, including almost 20 000 personal learning records submitted by second year trainees. There was evidence that ePortfolio was used to record achievement of clinical competence rather than to track improvements towards competence (median workplace based assessment scores were ‘high’ or ‘very high’). Online learning modules received positive feedback and its flexible format suited the trainees' working environment. External verification of formal assessment data revealed good correlation with locally stored outcomes, both indicating approximately 99% programme completion rates.

Conclusions Core components of the Foundation programme have been delivered successfully to thousands of trainees across Scotland using web based systems to deliver and support education and assessment. There is great potential for further exploration of this carefully managed, rich dataset at individual, regional, and national levels to inform the future of medical education.

  • Health informatics
  • education and training (see medical education and training)
  • audit
  • information management
  • medical education & training

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  • Funding All authors work for NHS Education for Scotland and received no additional funds in support of this work.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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