Breaking Through The Barriers To Technology Enhanced Learning

DEMEC Poster: Barriers to TEL


Medical and clinical students on placement face a number of technology barriers to accessing learning materials, ranging from ageing equipment and lack of wi-fi to overly restrictive internet access policies and constraints on the use of personal tablets and smartphones.

Summary of work

We interviewed a large body of healthcare students, reviewed the literature and explored the reasons for these barriers to accessing technology enhanced learning (TEL), suggesting recommendations for improving and reducing the obstacles.

Summary of results

More than 90% of healthcare learners had experienced some form of access problem with TEL in the last year. The reasons appear to range from a lack of funding for the equipment and infrastructure to facilitate TEL to a lack of understanding by IT and training departments about the importance of unrestricted access to learning.

Discussion and conclusions

A culture change is required by healthcare organisations to lift restrictions on access to TEL. However, the research indicates that perceptions are changing and many of the historical restrictions on social media, online video and other media are beginning to disappear and access to wi-fi is becoming increasingly available to students.

Take home messages

There are many barriers to accessing TEL in healthcare but the obstacles are slowly beginning to disappear.

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