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29.01.2019 | review | Ausgabe 2/2019 Open Access

European Surgery 2/2019

A review of online platforms in training and surgical education

European Surgery > Ausgabe 2/2019
MBChB, MHPE, MFSTEd, FHEA, MD Dr. Michael El Boghdady, PhD Assoc. Prof. Béatrice Marianne Ewalds-Kvist, MBChB, PhD, FRCS Dr. Afshin Alijani
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The use of technology in surgical education has rapidly evolved. Blended learning refers to provision of online instruction platforms by international technology companies, prompting a combination of face-to-face teaching with computer-mediated tuition. This nonsystematic literature review focuses on online teaching platforms with applications for potential use in future surgical education.


A literature search was performed using PubMed, Embase, OVID, and Google Scholar. To identify studies on online platforms in surgical education, the following search terms were used: “online platform,” “online learning,” “surgical education and online learning,” and “surgical education and blended learning.” The search was limited to citations in English from 1998 to 2018. The first author performed the detailed literature search. The final list of the articles was included by consensus between authors. Search items were studied from the nature of the articles, country of origin, date of publication, and aims and findings in relation to use of online platforms surgical education.


Altogether 279 relevant citations were reviewed, of which 22 articles met the inclusion criteria: 19 papers (ten original research, two review items, seven Internet articles) and three books were found to be relevant for this study. Their analysis comprised models of platforms along with their applications in surgical education. Data on the advantages and disadvantages of online platforms as well as authors’ personal experience of this instruction manner in surgical education were extracted. Problems with determining, analyzing, and integrating reading matters in a nonsystematic literature review comprising different teaching methods combined with the use of online platforms in surgical education were discussed and resolved.


Online platforms were introduced by international technology companies to encourage paperless blended learning in schools. We envisaged the use of online classrooms in surgical education because of its simple format, easy access, low costs, and interaction-inspiring nature between teachers and students in professional surgical education.
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