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Francesca Pozzi
Annamaria Bagnasco
Ioanna V. Papathanasiou
Hannele Turunen


In the last years a number of transformations in the health care systems in Europe and beyond has occurred, which result in new demands and ways of working for health care professionals; roles in health professions have been subject to substantial changes and in some cases new categories of health professionals have been defined (Goldfield, 2017).
As a consequence, new and multi-faceted needs are emerging in terms of education and training, calling for comprehensive, multidisciplinary and problem-based approaches. Higher Education institutions and Vocational & Training providers need to guarantee access to up-to-date, evidence-based medical and nursing knowledge and clinical practice, as well as the capacity to develop key abilities, competences and critical thinking skills and dispositions, so that health care professionals are able to plan and implement individualized heath care, to understand and manage complex health issues and conditions, to collaborate with fellow professional, and to interact with patients, in the effort to help improve their health status and quality of life.
As a response to these changes and needs, in recent years the field of “Medical Humanities” has started attracting attention, by advocating positive impact of introducing humanistic elements, such as art, literature and storytelling in health education and training.
In this evolving scenario, new technologies - as part of a digitalized society and e-health services - offer affordances that seem to fit well with the new needs of the healthcare training context; they can pave the way for adoption of innovative methods and approaches and can support meaningful and effective learning in such a challenging sector. The learning environments, if featured with high-tech devices and solutions, can support collaborative and active learning approaches, thus contributing to better prepare the future health care professionals. In this line, institutions offering education and training for healthcare professionals are increasingly adopting e-learning or blended learning approaches.
Nonetheless, it seems the adoption of technological solutions does not necessarily imply innovation in terms of methods. This has emerged even more clearly during the recent Covid-19 pandemic, when most institutions were forced to suddenly move to online training; in those exceptional circumstances, it came out most of the training offer was primarily transmissive in nature, as most of the providers turned out to be unprepared to harness the strengths of online learning, nor deal with its limitations (Hodges, Moore, Lockee, Trust, & Bond, 2020).
For these reasons, sharing research findings and experiences about how technologies are actually affecting teaching and learning methods in the healthcare professionals’ training, seems useful. 
In this special issue we have collected a number of papers, in an attempt to contribute to this debate.

Article Details



Goldfield, N. (2017). Dramatic changes in health care professions in the past 40 years. Journal of Ambulatory Care Management, 40(3), 169-175. Retrieved from doi: 10.1097/jac.0000000000000201

Hodges, C., Moore, S., Lockee, B., Trust, T., & Bond, A. (2020, March 27). The difference between emergency remote teaching and online learning. EDUCAUSE Review. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2020/3/the-difference-between-emergency-remote-teaching-and-online-learning