2020 did a number on all industries, including healthcare education, but looking on the bright side, it also demonstrated the true power and potential of technology. Numerous healthcare providers were able to resume working, as usual, thanks to collaboration tools, and students were able to continue their education thanks to the platforms that make e-learning convenient.

E-learning for healthcare is not only beneficial for students but also for established healthcare staff. It is a great way for healthcare professionals to stay on track, communicate with colleagues, have continuous professional development, improve their professional knowledge, or even get a new official degree.

In this article:

  1. What is e-learning?
  2. The development of e-learning over time
  3. Importance of e-learning for the healthcare industry
  4. 10 benefits of e-learning for healthcare over traditional classroom learning
  5. Methods of e-learning for healthcare workers
  6. E-learning for healthcare professionals: is it just hype or a stable trend?
  7. Healthcare e-learning trends
  8. Our experience with e-learning for healthcare
  9. Conclusion

What is e-learning?

E-learning, also known as online learning or computer learning, is the training process of acquiring information using electronic devices and media. E-learning can be described as "learning that is allowed electronically."

It is usually performed over the internet, and students can access their learning materials online at any place and time. There are numerous e-learning methods available, such as online classes, interactive lectures, webinars, or even web-based learning.

When it comes to healthcare, e-learning appears in multiple forms as well. Healthcare workers can attend live lectures with skilled medical professionals. They can also sign up for webinars or courses on specific topics and watch pre-recorded lectures when it is most convenient for them. For example:

  • Coursera offers a variety of courses, such as a course on cancer, that allow individuals to learn the latest skills, earn a degree, and reap various career benefits.
  • Modern Healthcare offers healthcare facilities many webinars that will help them stay up to date with the most recent events and developments in healthcare.

It’s also possible to use e-learning to attend universities and colleges and obtain a full-scale degree over time. For example, Best Medical Degrees gives individuals the opportunity to find the institutions that will help them obtain a degree online in almost any field.

The development of e-learning over time

The Development of E-Learning Over Time

The concept of e-learning isn’t a recent invention. It has been around for quite a while. In 2002, MIT created the first MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). The open educational resources (OER) campaign, which was motivated by the MIT OpenCourseWare initiative, gave birth to the first MOOCs. The OER movement was sparked by research that found no link between class size and learning outcomes.

2006-2010: e-learning on the rise

Between 2006 to 2010, there were tremendous improvements in e-learning. Thanks to all the technological improvements, e-learning was becoming more prominent. It was less expensive, and it removed geographical boundaries.

E-books were on the rise, mobile technology was improving, the digitization of libraries took place, and there was even talk about virtual reality.

By 2008, every fourth college offered an online course, and there were about 4.6 million online students in the US. The worth of the e-learning industry leaped from $6.5 million in 2003 to $27.1 million in 2008. 

2011 and onwards: gaining traction 

From 2011 onwards, e-learning has been growing and improving. Various technology advancements occurred during this timeframe, such as the cloud, tablet computing, learning through social platforms, advancement in learning analytics (learn more about learning analytics on our blog), MOOCs, and wearable technology. Also, numerous tools were developed that further simplified e-learning course creation.

Digital learning became popular not only among students but also professionals, entrepreneurs, and business owners. Students found e-learning helpful because it allowed them to gain expertise in any subject. Professionals, on the other hand, found that e-learning courses helped them enhance their skill set and attain a better position in their career path.

At this point, there were about 6.3 million online students, not including the number of non-college students enrolled in distance education courses around the world. About one in four US college students enrolled in an online course at degree-granting institutions of higher education in 2014. This ratio increased to one in three by 2017, with 30 percent of all enrollees attending at least one distance education course. Also, the number of MOOCs increased by 24 percent in 2016–2017.

The value of the e-learning market

Online education spending increased by almost a third from 2011 to 2015 (from $35.6 billion to $107 billion). More importantly, digital education was 22 percent of the total higher education revenue in 2015.

In 2019, the global EdTech market, which is mainly driven by the proliferation of smart devices and seamless internet connectivity, was valued at $76.4 billion. It is expected that the market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18.1 percent from 2020 to 2027. The year 2020 was also marked by a $30 billion venture capital investment in e-learning and digital health startups.

According to the most recent data, the digital learning industry is projected to pass $370 billion by 2026.

Healthcare e-learning development throughout time

The advancements in educational technologies also affected the healthcare sector by modernizing its workplaces and customized learning. This is greatly useful compared to traditional learning as each healthcare student and professional gets the chance to adjust education to their personal needs.

As medical technology kept evolving, healthcare employees gained access to artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality that further improved their education. AI promotes comprehension and memorization, whereas augmented reality promotes immersive learning.  Also, numerous healthcare organizations started integrating and promoting various options for continuous professional development (CPD).

2020 brought new challenges to the world. As a result, the healthcare data in medical science increased significantly. Even though all these findings had the potential to help countries improve their health situation, it is challenging to implement the newest practices and normative guidance throughout the global health workforce. New ways to speedily get knowledge, evidence, and information into the hands of healthcare professionals became essential.

As a result, the WHO Academy, a cutting-edge educational facility dedicated to bringing the lifelong learning revolution to the field of medicine, was developed. Located at a futuristic campus in Lyon, France, the Academy is scheduled to launch its first digital courses in May 2021. The Academy will be globally accessible to all healthcare professionals, as it will offer innovative, personalized, and multilingual training that meets priority needs and takes traditional training methods to the next level.

Importance of e-learning for the healthcare industry

The healthcare industry is advancing incredibly fast, requiring professionals to stay on top of the latest technologies, regulations, training, and certifications. All this helps provide patients with the best service, treatments, and possible outcomes.

Since healthcare professionals are very busy, and they have to tend to patients daily, spending time in classrooms would prevent them from doing their job. E-learning is the most straightforward and efficient way for healthcare professionals to stay abreast of the latest developments in diagnoses and treatments.

E-learning allows healthcare professionals to decide when and how they want to learn. It also removes all boundaries and allows people in remote areas to have access to high-quality medical education.

Overall, online education is more flexible, but what benefits does e-learning for healthcare professionals have over traditional classroom education?

10 benefits of e-learning for healthcare over traditional classroom learning

10 Benefits of E-Learning for Healthcare Over Traditional Classroom Learning

Based on our experience with online education and research in the field, we identified 10 key benefits of using e-learning over traditional learning in the healthcare industry.

1. Students don’t need to relocate

One of the biggest advantages of e-learning in healthcare, and in general, is that it allows people to enroll in any university, course, or webinar and attend it from the comfort of their homes. Individuals get to enhance their skills and careers with an online college or graduate degree without having to move to another city or country.

2. They can have a more flexible schedule

In general, e-learning allows students to study at their own pace and learn at the time of day and in the place that works best for them. When people are in control of every part of their schedule, it is easier for them to maintain an active social and family life and even work with learning.

3. A virtual classroom provides a less stressful learning environment

Reduced stress is the result of a flexible schedule. When people learn at their own pace, participate in ways that feel more comfortable, and don't have to travel or commute to their college, their stress levels will stay low.

4. Students have more opportunities  to concentrate and participate

People are productive at different times of the day. Thanks to e-learning, individuals can study at the time when their brain is most engaged. Also, some people find it challenging to focus and participate in crowded classrooms. Digital learning can make it easier for students to concentrate and also jump in with their questions and ideas.

5. E-learning makes it possible to keep your job

Sometimes, people want to stay in their company but climb the ladder. To do so, they have to improve their credentials. Attending college lectures is almost impossible when you have a full-time job. However, thanks to e-learning, there is no need to choose between school and work, as you get to do both.

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6. E-learning is conducive to everyone's needs

The greatest advantage of e-learning is that it can be customized for the needs of every type of learner. For healthcare students, this means that they will have the resources they need to learn long-lasting skills for helping people, whether they select video lessons, audio lessons, webinars, textbooks, or even worksheets.

7. Content can be reviewed an unlimited number of times

E-learning allows individuals to access the content as many times as they require, which is not the case with traditional classroom teaching. Healthcare is a broad field, and professionals can explore any topic they need thanks to e-learning.

8. E-learning can be tailored to healthcare education goals

Some of the e-learning tools allow the creation of various digital courses. E-learning allows educators to tailor their lessons to healthcare learning goals. For example, students can practice "life or death" decision-making in class, using case-based learning, and students could get the opportunity to see the ramifications of their decisions right away.

9. Online learning allows students to invest in themselves

Thanks to online learning, healthcare professionals can stay up to date with the latest developments and remain competent in their field. E-learning allows individuals to gain new skills, knowledge, and certificates and ensure success in their current and future positions.

10. E-learning improves the quality of living for patients

Being knowledgeable and educated is essential for protecting the people you serve. The more you know, the greater the chances are for you to improve the quality of patient care. E-learning can help you achieve this.

Methods of e-learning for healthcare workers

Methods of E-learning for Healthcare Workers

Although there are numerous methods of digital education, here are the most common types of e-learning for healthcare employees.

Learning destination websites

A learning destination site is a shared website that provides courses from several different healthcare providers. These websites can be considered a storefront, similar to how Amazon acts as the front end for many stores.

The most common learning destination websites are Udemy, UdacityCoursera, and edX.

Traditional LMS

A learning management system (LMS) is a platform where individuals can develop and host an online course. The course designer is allowed to create course content, store them, manage learning profiles, report grades, and progress, and perform other simple tasks characteristic of online courses.

There are more than 700 learning management systems providers, such as Blackboard and Schoology.

Open-source LMS

An open-source LMS has the same features and options as the traditional one. The only difference is that these platforms are typically free of charge and can be customized.

Common open-source learning platforms are Moodle, Sakai, and Open edX.

Modern learning management solutions

Traditional LMS platforms often cause frustration because they are not up to date with the latest trends and technological innovations. Modern LMSs focus on the learner experience as well as specific learning approaches that are not supported in traditional LMSs (for example: adaptive learning, personalized learning, collaborative learning, blended learning, etc).

Numerous companies offer modern LMS, such as Motivis, Docebo, and EducateMe.

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Learning management ecosystems

The learning management ecosystem is another kind of online learning platform. In this model, businesses combine best-of-breed "point" solutions into a single framework.

Features include course authoring applications, evaluation tools, agile learning engines, e-commerce platforms, and learning content management systems, which are all combined and delivered to the learner as a single solution.

An excellent example of a learning management ecosystem is the University of Notre Dame's NeXus platform. This platform features Open edX at its core but also integrates many other software tools.

Custom-built learning platform

Custom LMS development focuses on serving the needs of the business, the learning experience of students, and pedagogy. This solution is created from scratch, usually making it the most expensive one, but it ensures complete control.

A great example of a custom-built learning platform is HBX, which was built specifically for Harvard Business School courses.

Examples of e-learning in healthcare

Native courses from universities and colleges. There are a few colleges that offer online healthcare courses, such as:

Third-party e-learning services. Several third-party services provide universities, colleges, or professionals in the industry with platforms to host their programs. The most popular ones include:

E-Learning for healthcare professionals: is it just hype or a stable trend?

E-learning has been around since the 1990s, but its popularity and use dramatically increased in 2020. The number of students enrolling in institutions that offer e-learning is continually on the rise as well due to the prominent e-learning advantages in healthcare and modern-day necessities.

For example, the overall college enrollment in the United States has declined through the fall of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, institutions that offer primarily online instruction are seeing increases. Enrollment at predominantly online universities rose by 7 percent in the fall of 2020 and spring of 2021, compared to 5 percent in the spring of 2020.

But, there are also a few concerns that surround e-learning. Many teachers find it difficult to maintain student engagement. Some teachers found it challenging to adapt to this new method of teaching due to a lack of adequate digital skills. Last but not least, not all students have access to fast internet or laptops, which makes e-learning not an adequate solution for everyone.

However, these challenges can be easily overcome. Educational institutions can organize courses or product training sessions for their teachers that will help them learn how to use e-learning platforms and adjust to all the changes more easily. On the other hand, teachers can foster a positive face to face learning attitude among their students to maintain their motivation and improve their learning.

When it comes to equipment, governments that are interested in improving the quality of education can provide funds for families in need or even lend them the necessary medical equipment for e-learning to ensure everyone has access to high-quality online learning activities.

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Use cases for healthcare e-learning

The healthcare industry is constantly evolving, with new technologies and practices emerging all the time to improve patient outcomes and increase efficiency. That is why it is very important to introduce e-learning in medical education cases, including continuous training for healthcare personnel and patients in daily practice.

1. Medical online training

An aspiring nurse, Sarah, wants to learn how to properly insert a catheter. However, her nursing program doesn't offer hands-on healthcare training for this skill. Sarah turns to an eLearning platform that offers a catheterization course. The training course provides step-by-step instructions and demonstrations, and Sarah is able to practice on a mannequin with virtual guidance until she feels confident in her abilities.

2. Patient education

Mark is a diabetic patient who has been struggling to manage his condition. His doctor recommends he enroll in an eLearning program that teaches him how to properly monitor his blood sugar, administer insulin shots, and maintain a healthy diet. The program also includes quizzes and interactive tools to help Mark track his progress and adjust his lifestyle accordingly.

3. Compliance training

Hospitals and clinics have strict regulations and policies that healthcare staff must follow. Jane, a new employee, needs to undergo compliance training to ensure she understands these regulations. She logs in to an eLearning program.  This e-learning offers interactive lessons on topics such as patient privacy, medical record keeping, and infection control. Jane completed one of the e-learning programs and is confident she knows how to comply with the hospital's policies.

4. Continuing medical education (CME)

Dr. Smith has been practicing medicine for many years and wants to stay up-to-date with the latest research and best practices. She enrolls in an eLearning program that offers continuing medical education courses on a variety of topics, including new treatment methods and emerging technologies. The program allows Dr. Smith to learn at her own pace and earn continuing medical education credits on her schedule.

5. Employee onboarding

Alex is one of the new healthcare workforce in the clinic and needs to learn about the clinic's history, culture, and policies. The clinic provides an eLearning program that covers these topics and more. Alex can complete the program on their own time and review the material as often as necessary. By the time Alex starts working, they feel confident and knowledgeable about their new workplace.

Here are some of the most popular eLearning trends in the Healthcare Industry.

  • Analogues of living patients, or simulators

Around the world, only a few dozen manufacturers are developing mannequins with advanced medical capabilities. This development is extremely important because it relates to emergency medicine, when the doctor must navigate and make a decision quickly, and the patient’s life depends on the correctness of his actions.

The convenience of the software and hardware complex also lies in the fact that it allows you to study offline, following the program prompts and going through the case as many times as necessary to master the skills.

  • Education and research

Medicine does not stand still. Diseases that were previously considered fatal are now successfully treated and provide patients with a long and prosperous life. This happens due to scientific research, which is aimed at the invention of new treatment methods, universal and individual medications.

  • Medical professions of the future

Many medical schools around the world already offer programs that give students the knowledge and skills to master the “professions of the future.” For example, such professions include organ cultivation specialists, telesurgeons, medical chatbot developers, lobbyists for robotic surgeons, organ developers, geriatric consultants, clinical bioinformaticians, and many others.

  • The importance of patient care 

Despite the robotization of many professional processes in the future, medicine remains one of those areas in which personality and an individual approach will remain extremely important. In addition, in the future, medical programs will increasingly include classes that focus on communication skills, ethics, and the cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity of patients.

  • Maximum digitalization 

This is not only a transition to distance learning for medical staff but also an increasing role of mobile technologies, digitization of textbooks, and an increasing number of online classes and webinars. Translation of educational literature into multimedia format.

  • Soft skills development

Today, a doctor’s “soft skills” are no less important than professional skills. What “soft skills” are useful for a doctor to develop? The ability to present yourself and your ideas, build relationships with various healthcare entities, cooperate with other participants in the treatment process, and demonstrate leadership qualities.

Our experience with e-learning for healthcare

Our Experience With E-Learning for Healthcare

At Genuisee, we developed a healthcare e-learning project called NCourage. The platform helps understand the nature of anxiety and stress as well as the cause of problems with falling asleep.

The main idea of the app is to teach the users that the best way to manage anxiety and other problems is to challenge the norm of how we currently think about them, talk about them, and treat their symptoms. In turn, using the app should promote personal growth, success with work, and increased productivity.

The app is made in the form of audio lectures with small thematic notes.

Challenges that we faced

There were a few aspects of the topic and platform capabilities we had to take into account:

  • Understanding the problems of anxiety/stress, falling asleep, personal growth, and productivity
  • The possibility to undergo treatment using an audio app
  • The possibility to track the mood throughout the week, month, and year
  • Creating an admin panel that allows you to manage learning content in the application

Solutions we applied

As a result of our hard work and dedication, Geniusse created the following learning solutions:

  • UX/UI design of the full product
  • ReactNative iOS and Android mobile application for the client, allowing them to listen to audio lectures
  • Admin panel allowed to manage content inside the app
  • AWS infrastructure based on microservice architecture
  • Development of CI/CD in AWS


Our Geniusse development team is known for their expertise in creating web platforms and mobile applications with different levels of complexity, step by step, from requirements elicitation and design to technical support in the future. NCourage proved to be an immense success along with all the other tech solutions we provide.

You can check out the project yourself in our portfolio.

If you’re looking for an e-learning software development service to build a custom platform or any other software solution, contact Geniusse.

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E-learning might not have been as popular and widely utilized as it is now, but it has seen steady development over the last twenty-odd years. Thanks to technological advancements, medical professionals from all over the world can join reputable institutions and start expanding their knowledge and skills.

Thanks to the massive e-learning benefits for health professionals, the healthcare industry is going to maintain this trend in the future as well, allowing healthcare professionals to take even better care of their patients.

Are you in need of an e-learning platform or any other software solution? The Geniusse team has got your back! We are skilled professionals capable of building advanced apps from scratch. Tell us your idea, and we'll transform it into reality.