Evaluating the learning experience of web-conferenced case-based learning

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Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate web-conferenced case-based learning (WCBL) through the student experience across a semester of learning. Learning was also evaluated via unit examination and compared to the previous year’s cohort, which did not include WCBL (F2F).
Methods: This study took place over the first semester of the third year of a Bachelor of Physiotherapy program at Monash University, Australia, in 2014. Having experienced two years of weekly face-to-face case-based learning (F2F-CBL) activities since commencing the program, students were transitioned to WCBL for the duration of this study. Primary outcomes included measures of satisfaction, attendance, communication, issues with information technology, and perceived depth of learning, with data collected via a post-unit survey. The secondary outcome was student learning, evaluated with the unit examination results.
Results: 76/78 students completed the post-unit survey (non-participation rate 2.6%). Although 95% of participants reported that WCBL was a valuable addition to the teaching activities of the unit, students reported a range of new challenges and rewards from the transition to small-group WCBL activities. Strong themes emerged encompassing adaptation of communication, increased responsibility for learning, technical difficulties, and learning in a remote environment. Overall, 92% of participants agreed that they were satisfied with WCBL. The unit exam result was comparable for the 2013 (F2F-CBL) and the 2014 (WCBL) cohorts (Mean (SD) 2013 (%) 75.97 (9.56) n = 73; 2014 (%) 76.74 (6.57) n = 78, effect size (95% C.I) = 0.09 (-0.23 – 0.41).
Conclusion: Web conferencing may be a suitable medium for students to participate in collaborative case-based learning activities. Further study should evaluate the financial implications of implementing WCBL across an entire semester in regard to student and facility costs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Contemporary Medical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Case-based learning
  • web conferencing
  • web-based learning
  • student satisfaction
  • learning outcomes

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