Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Medical Education and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Impact on learning of an e-learning module on leukaemia: a randomised controlled trial

Yuri Morgulis1, Rakesh K Kumar2, Robert Lindeman1 and Gary M Velan1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pathology, School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, 2052, Australia

2 Department of Haematology, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, NSW, 2031, Australia

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Medical Education 2012, 12:36  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-36

Published: 28 May 2012

Abstract

Background

e-learning resources may be beneficial for complex or conceptually difficult topics. Leukaemia is one such topic, yet there are no reports on the efficacy of e-learning for leukaemia. This study compared the learning impact on senior medical students of a purpose-built e-learning module on leukaemia, compared with existing online resources.

Methods

A randomised controlled trial was performed utilising volunteer senior medical students. Participants were randomly allocated to Study and Control groups. Following a pre-test on leukaemia administered to both groups, the Study group was provided with access to the new e-learning module, while the Control group was directed to existing online resources. A post-test and an evaluation questionnaire were administered to both groups at the end of the trial period.

Results

Study and Control groups were equivalent in gender distribution, mean academic ability, pre-test performance and time studying leukaemia during the trial. The Study group performed significantly better than the Control group in the post-test, in which the group to which the students had been allocated was the only significant predictor of performance. The Study group’s evaluation of the module was overwhelmingly positive.

Conclusions

A targeted e-learning module on leukaemia had a significant effect on learning in this cohort, compared with existing online resources. We believe that the interactivity, dialogic feedback and integration with the curriculum offered by the e-learning module contributed to its impact. This has implications for e-learning design in medicine and other disciplines.

Keywords:
E-learning; Computer-assisted learning; Medical education; Leukaemia