Synchronous Problem-Based e-Learning (ePBL) in Interprofessional Health Science Education
Health Science teams are increasingly interprofessional and infused with technology. These shifts result in a need for health science students to learn online interprofessional teamwork skills early in their training. In response, one interprofessional communication skills course was remodelled from traditional Problem-based learning (PBL) to include learning in an online collaborative (team-based) environment (Elluminate). This study evaluates the types of interactions facilitated by an interprofessional e-problem-based learning (ePBL) activity. A qualitative analysis of recorded discussions in Elluminate yielded two major categories of results. First, the online learning environment was shown to facilitate small-group collaborative interactions by updating older tools, in terms of offering intuitive, accurate, and multiple communication tools, and enabling novel forms of interaction. Second, the online learning environment prompted discussion of technology-facilitated communication difficulties in a way that led to the remediation of these difficulties. These results suggest that, while there is a need for further research on the relationship between online synchronous (real-time) learning environments and collaborative learning, ePBL can enable positive and novel forms of student interaction and facilitate student learning.