Online learning in health professions education. Part 1: Teaching and learning in online environments: AMEE Guide No. 161

Heather MacNeill*, Ken Masters, Kataryna Nemethy, Raquel Correia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Online learning in Health Professions Education (HPE) has been evolving over decades, but COVID-19 changed its use abruptly. Technology allowed necessary HPE during COVID-19, but also demonstrated that many HP educators and learners had little knowledge and experience of these complex sociotechnical environments. Due to the educational benefits and flexibility that technology can afford, many higher education experts agree that online learning will continue and evolve long after COVID-19. As HP educators stand at the crossroads of technology integration, it is important that we examine the evidence, theories, advantages/disadvantages, and pedagogically informed design of online learning. This Guide will provide foundational concepts and practical strategies to support HPE educators and institutions toward advancing pedagogically informed use of online HPE. This Guide consists of two parts. The first part will provide an overview of evidence, theories, formats, and educational design in online learning, including contemporary issues and considerations such as learner engagement, faculty development, inclusivity, accessibility, copyright, and privacy. The second part (to be published as a separate Guide) focuses on specific technology tool types with practical examples for implementation and integration of the concepts discussed in Guide 1, and will include digital scholarship, learning analytics, and emerging technologies. In sum, both guides should be read together, as Guide 1 provides the foundation required for the practical application of technology showcased in Guide 2. Please refer to the video abstract for Part 1 of this Guide at

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalMedical Teacher
Publication statusPublished - Apr 24 2023


  • Online learning
  • distance learning
  • educational technologies
  • instructional technologies
  • online education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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