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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

A comparative evaluation of the effect of internet-based CME delivery format on satisfaction, knowledge and confidence

Vernon R Curran*, Lisa J Fleet and Fran Kirby

Author Affiliations

Professional Development & Conferencing Services, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University, St John's, Canada

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BMC Medical Education 2010, 10:10  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-10-10

Published: 29 January 2010

Abstract

Background

Internet-based instruction in continuing medical education (CME) has been associated with favorable outcomes. However, more direct comparative studies of different Internet-based interventions, instructional methods, presentation formats, and approaches to implementation are needed. The purpose of this study was to conduct a comparative evaluation of two Internet-based CME delivery formats and the effect on satisfaction, knowledge and confidence outcomes.

Methods

Evaluative outcomes of two differing formats of an Internet-based CME course with identical subject matter were compared. A Scheduled Group Learning format involved case-based asynchronous discussions with peers and a facilitator over a scheduled 3-week delivery period. An eCME On Demand format did not include facilitated discussion and was not based on a schedule; participants could start and finish at any time. A retrospective, pre-post evaluation study design comparing identical satisfaction, knowledge and confidence outcome measures was conducted.

Results

Participants in the Scheduled Group Learning format reported significantly higher mean satisfaction ratings in some areas, performed significantly higher on a post-knowledge assessment and reported significantly higher post-confidence scores than participants in the eCME On Demand format that was not scheduled and did not include facilitated discussion activity.

Conclusions

The findings support the instructional benefits of a scheduled delivery format and facilitated asynchronous discussion in Internet-based CME.