What do we mean by web-based learning? A systematic review of the variability of interventions.
ABSTRACT Educators often speak of web-based learning (WBL) as a single entity or a cluster of similar activities with homogeneous effects. Yet a recent systematic review demonstrated large heterogeneity among results from individual studies. Our purpose is to describe the variation in configurations, instructional methods and presentation formats in WBL.
We systematically searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, ERIC, CINAHL and other databases (last search November 2008) for studies comparing a WBL intervention with no intervention or another educational activity. From eligible studies we abstracted information on course participants, topic, configuration and instructional methods. We summarised this information and then purposively selected and described several WBL interventions that illustrate specific technologies and design features.
We identified 266 eligible studies. Nearly all courses (89%) used written text and most (55%) used multimedia. A total of 32% used online communication via e-mail, threaded discussion, chat or videoconferencing, and 9% implemented synchronous components. Overall, 24% blended web-based and non-computer-based instruction. Most web-based courses (77%) employed specific instructional methods, other than text alone, to enhance the learning process. The most common instructional methods (each used in nearly 50% of courses) were patient cases, self-assessment questions and feedback. We describe several studies to illustrate the range of instructional designs.
Educators and researchers cannot treat WBL as a single entity. Many different configurations and instructional methods are available for WBL instructors. Researchers should study when to use specific WBL designs and how to use them effectively.
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ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To determine the impact of an online lecture versus a live lecture on screening given to medical students who are participating in an outpatient clerkship.DESIGN: Prospective, randomized, controlled study.PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: Ninety-five senior medical students in a primary care medicine clerkship based at university and distant clinic sites.INTERVENTION AND MEASUREMENTS: Forty-eight medical students were randomized to the live lecture on screening (live lecture group), and forty-seven medical students were randomized to the online lecture on screening (online lecture group). Outcome measures included students' knowledge, use of time, and satisfaction with the lecture experience.RESULTS: Compared to students in the live lecture group, students in the online lecture group demonstrated equal post-intervention knowledge of screening (P = .91) and expended 50 minutes less time to complete the lecture. Online lecture students who used the audio feed of the lecture were equally satisfied with the lecture as the live lecture students. Without the audio feed, online lecture students were less satisfied.CONCLUSIONS: An online lecture on screening is a feasible, efficient, and effective method to teach students on outpatient clerkships about principles of screening.Journal of General Internal Medicine 06/2002; 17(7):540 - 545. · 3.28 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We aimed to establish the most effective order in which to deliver teaching to medical students when using both bedside teaching (BT) and computer-based learning (CBL) and to ascertain the students' preferred method and order of delivery. A sample of 28 medical students were randomly divided into two equal groups during their orthopaedic knee examination teaching session. Group 1 received standard BT and group 2 undertook a CBL package. Each group then undertook an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). The groups then received the other method of teaching followed by another OSCE. A questionnaire was administered to all students to assess their views on, and preferences for, the various teaching methods. Mean scores on the first OSCE were 12.19 for group 1 (BT then CBL) and 11.96 for group 2 (CBL then BT) (P = 0.692). Mean scores on the second OSCE were 11.81 for group 1 compared with 12.79 for group 2 (P = 0.038). Statistical analysis showed a significantly better score improvement for group 2 (CBL then BT) over group 1 (BT then CBL). Of the 26 students who returned questionnaires, 24 (92%) expressed their preference for traditional BT over CBL only, and 23 (88%) were in favour of undertaking CBL prior to traditional BT. The CBL package is a useful tool and is most effective if used before BT. Students prefer BT alone over CBL alone, but, if offered both, prefer to undertake CBL first.Medical Education 03/2009; 43(2):108-12. · 3.55 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Herbs and dietary supplements are widely used, and there is an urgent need to educate health professionals about their risks and benefits. The Internet provides an innovative way of educating busy health professionals. This study assessed the impact of an Internet-based curriculum on health professionals' knowledge, confidence, and clinical practices related to herbs and dietary supplements. The study was a randomized crossover trial involving physicians, pharmacists, advanced practice nurses, and dietitians. Participants were invited by e-mail and randomly assigned to immediate intervention versus waiting-list groups (n = 537). The curriculum lasted ten weeks and consisted of 20 case-based modules, each involving one multiple-choice or true-or-false question and its answer, links to reliable Internet sources of additional information, and a moderated listserv discussion group. Participants were surveyed about their knowledge, confidence, and communication related to herbs and dietary supplements on enrollment, after the immediate intervention group had completed the curriculum, and after the waiting-list group completed the curriculum. Baseline scores for knowledge, confidence, and communication were similar in the two groups. At the first follow-up, there was greater improvement in scores for all three areas in the immediate intervention group than in the waiting-list group (improvement for knowledge, 3.0 versus 1.4; confidence, 2.6 versus 0.6; communication, 0.21 versus -0.1, p <.01 for all comparisons). After all participants had received the curriculum, scores for both groups were significantly better than at baseline and similar to one another. Internet-based education about herbs and dietary supplements for diverse health professionals is feasible and results in significant and sustained improvements in knowledge, confidence, and communication practices.Academic Medicine 09/2002; 77(9):882-9. · 3.29 Impact Factor