Remote-online case-based learning: A comparison of remote-online and face-to-face, case-based learning - A randomized controlled trial

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Abstract

Background: Case-based learning (CBL) is an educational approach where students work in small, collaborative groups to solve problems. Computer assisted learning (CAL) is the implementation of computer technology in education. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of a remote-online CBL (RO-CBL) with traditional face-to-face CBL on learning the outcomes of undergraduate physiotherapy students. Methods: Participants were randomized to either the control (face-to-face CBL) or to the CAL intervention (RO-CBL). The entire 3rd year physiotherapy cohort (n = 41) at Monash University, Victoria, Australia, were invited to participate in the randomized controlled trial. Outcomes included a postintervention multiple-choice test evaluating the knowledge gained from the CBL, a self-assessment of learning based on examinable learning objectives and student satisfaction with the CBL. In addition, a focus group was conducted investigating perceptions and responses to the online format. Results: Thirty-eight students (control n = 19, intervention n = 19) participated in two CBL sessions and completed the outcome assessments. CBL median scores for the postintervention multiple-choice test were comparable (Wilcoxon rank sum P = 0.61) (median/10 [range] intervention group: 9 [8–10] control group: 10 [7–10]). Of the 15 examinable learning objectives, eight were significantly in favor of the control group, suggesting a greater perceived depth of learning. Eighty-four percent of students (16/19) disagreed with the statement “I enjoyed the method of CBL delivery.” Key themes identified from the focus group included risks associated with the implementation of, challenges of communicating in, and flexibility offered, by web-based programs. Discussion: RO-CBL appears to provide students with a comparable learning experience to traditional CBL. Procedural and infrastructure factors need to be addressed in future studies to counter student dissatisfaction and decreased perceived depth of learning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number28406103
Pages (from-to)195-202
Number of pages8
JournalEducation for Health
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016

Keywords

  • Case-based learning
  • Computer assisted learning
  • E-learning
  • Health care education
  • Online learning
  • Problem-based learning

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