In just a few years, e-learning has become part of the mainstream in medical education. While e-learning means many things to many people, at its heart it is concerned with the educational uses of technology. For the purposes of this guide, we consider the many ways that the information revolution has affected and remediated the practice of healthcare teaching and learning. Deploying new technologies usually introduces tensions, and e-learning is no exception. Some wish to use it merely to perform pre-existing activities more efficiently or faster. Others pursue new ways of thinking and working that the use of such technology affords them. Simultaneously, while education, not technology, is the prime goal (and for healthcare, better patient outcomes), we are also aware that we cannot always predict outcomes. Sometimes, we have to take risks, and 'see what happens.' Serendipity often adds to the excitement of teaching. It certainly adds to the excitement of learning. The use of technology in support of education is not, therefore, a causal or engineered set of practices; rather, it requires creativity and adaptability in response to the specific and changing contexts in which it is used. Medical Education, as with most fields, is grappling with these tensions; the AMEE Guide to e-Learning in Medical Education hopes to help the reader, whether novice or expert, navigate them. This Guide is presented both as an introduction to the novice, and as a resource to more experienced practitioners. It covers a wide range of topics, some in broad outline, and others in more detail. Each section is concluded with a brief 'Take Home Message' which serves as a short summary of the section. The Guide is divided into two parts. The first part introduces the basic concepts of e-learning, e-teaching, and e-assessment, and then focuses on the day-to-day issues of e-learning, looking both at theoretical concepts and practical implementation issues. The second part examines technical, management, social, design and other broader issues in e-learning, and it ends with a review of emerging forms and directions in e-learning in medical education.
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