Hot To Design Virtual Learning Environments for use in Patient Education

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Author (s): Wafa Alotaibi, Cheryl Anderson, Anand Ganesan, Hugh Gripper, Sofia Hadjieconomou and Shiva Shanmugaratnam

The General Medical Council (GMC) describes the duties of a doctor as "giving patients the information they want and need in a way they can understand" and to "support patients in caring for themselves to improve and maintain their health" (GMC, 2017).  As clinicians, we therefore have the responsibility not only to treat, but also to educate our patients.  With the advent of new technologies there are increasing numbers of options and modalities for clinicians to use in educating patients in a Virtual Learning Environment.  This encompasses any modality where the learners (patients in this case) and educators are separated in time or space or both (Moseley and Dessinger, 2007).  The challenge is how best to make use of these advances in order to effectivley inform and empower patients to improve their care.  The purpose of this document is to highlight good design principles when considering the use of the Virtual Learning Environment to educate patients. 

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