Objectives: Because of the complexity of clinical situations, traditional didactic education is limited in providing opportunity for student-patient interaction. Situated e-learning can enhance learners' knowledge and associated abilities through a variety of activities. Healthcare providers who interact with virtual patients in designed situations may avoid unnecessary risks and encounters with real patients. However, the effectiveness of situated e-learning is inconsistent. The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of situated e-learning in prelicensure and postlicensure medical and nursing education. Methods: Literature databases of PubMed, Medline, CINAHL, ERIC, and Cochrane Library were searched. The study eligibility criteria included articles published in English, which examined the effectiveness of situated e-learning on the outcomes of knowledge and performance for clinicians or students in medicine and nursing. Effect sizes were calculated with 95% confidence intervals. Results: Fourteen articles were included for meta-analysis. Situated e-learning could effectively enhance learners' knowledge and performance when the control group received no training. Compared to traditional learning, the effectiveness of situated e-learning on performance diminished but still remained significant whereas the effect become insignificant on knowledge. The subgroup analyses indicate the situated e-learning program significantly improved students' clinical performance but not for clinicians. Conclusions: Situated e-learning is an effective method to improve novice learners' performance. The effect of situated e-learning on the improvement of cognitive ability is limited when compared to traditional learning. Situated e-learning is a useful adjunct to traditional learning for medical and nursing students.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes