Kimberly R. Babin, B.A. (c), Teresa Carter, MD, Stephen Arora, MD, Karen McAssey, MD, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON
Background: Previous studies have examined the efficacy of web-based versus in-person learning with findings that students learn as well using either modality. However, students may be more prepared to learn when they make an effort to attend a place of learning with their colleagues. Conversely, students may be more likely to participate in a lecture through web-conferencing using a microphone to speak to the in-person group or type questions to the lecturer which are relayed to the in-person attendees by a moderator. Goals/Objectives: Our goal was to compare two modalities of lecture styles (in-person and web-conference) and examine whether learning is equal between the two groups. Methods: 88 students were split into 2 equal groups. Group A participated in lecture style teaching through live in-person attendance. Group B participated in the same lectures through live web-conferencing. 14 lectures were delivered to groups of 20 students over 6 weeks where both the in-person and web-conference attendees were able to communicate with each other. Thirty multiple choice questions were developed from material explicitly presented in each of the lectures. The test was administered on day one of their Pediatric Clerkship to obtain a base line of pre-lecture knowledge. The same test was administered with the order of questions reorganized on the final day of clerkship. The number of questions answered correctly from each group’s tests were compared. Results: Pre-test: Group A – in-person attendees averaged 15 out of 30 questions answered correctly, and 60% of these students scored >50%. Group B – web-conferencing averaged 14 out of 30 with 55% of students scoring >50%. Post-test: Group A averaged 19 out of 30 and 88% scored >50%. Group B averaged 18 out of 30 where 81% scored >50%. Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that both types of modalities showed learning took place equally. While the shelf exam is not used in our clerkship, we have not identified a difference in exit exam performance linked to location of clinical experience. Based on the results of this study we will continue to use web-conferencing to offer lectures to distant learners.