A randomized, controlled, single-blind trial of teaching provided by a computer-based multimedia package versus lecture

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BackgroundComputer-based teaching may allow effective teaching of important psychiatric knowledge and skills.AimsTo investigate the effectiveness and acceptability of computer-based teaching.MethodA single-blind, randomized, controlled study of 166 undergraduate medical students at the University of Leeds, involving an educational intervention of either a structured lecture or a computer-based teaching package (both of equal duration).ResultsThere was no difference in knowledge between the groups at baseline or immediately after teaching. Both groups made significant gains in knowledge after teaching. Students who attended the lecture rated their subjective knowledge and skills at a statistically significantly higher level than students who had used the computers. Students who had used the computer package scored higher on an objective measure of assessment skills. Students did not perceive the computer package to be as useful as the traditional lecture format, despite finding it easy to use and recommending its use to other students.ConclusionsMedical students rate themselves subjectively as learning less from computer-based as compared with lecture-based teaching. Objective measures suggest equivalence in knowledge acquisition and significantly greater skills acquisition for computer-based teaching.

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