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Distance Learning for Health Professions Education

Distance Learning for Health Professions Education
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Author(s): Sven A. Normann (University of Florida, USA) and Diane E. Beck (University of Florida, USA)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 10
Source title: Encyclopedia of Distance Learning, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Patricia L. Rogers (Bemidji State University, USA), Gary A. Berg (California State University Channel Islands (Retired), USA), Judith V. Boettcher (Designing for Learning, USA), Caroline Howard (HC Consulting, USA), Lorraine Justice (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong) and Karen D. Schenk (K. D. Schenk and Associates Consulting, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch098


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Although the number of distance learning courses and programs has grown exponentially in higher education, adoption has been slower within health professions education (Hunter et al., 2003; Lahaie, 2007). Health professions education encompasses the preparation of graduates for the professions of dentistry, nursing, medicine, and pharmacy, and the allied health professions that include clinical psychology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology. In particular, distance learning has been infrequently used for degree programs that prepare graduates to enter a health profession (Council for Higher Education Accreditation, 2002). Although this has been attributed to curricular requirements such as clinical training and professional socialization, health professions educators have also expressed concerns about quality and the demands on their time (Hunter et al., 2003; Andrews and Demps, 2003; Lahaie, 2007). Health professions educators have more readily adopted distance teaching and learning methods in programs that provide working healthcare professionals with advanced degrees, training, and continuing education (Learn, 1994; Curran, 2006; Long, 2007; Billings, 2007). These methods have also been more willingly implemented within courses that are part of a campus-based curriculum leading to a professional degree (Hunter et al., 2003; Andrews & Demps, 2003; Ruiz, 2006).

For more information regarding the Pharm.D. distance learning curriculum at the University of Florida, please visit:

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