A Perceptual Adaptive Learning Module Results in Improved Fetal Heart Rate Categorization

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

No published studies have evaluated the best method of teaching FHR interpretation. The PALM has been shown to improve learning in skills which require pattern recognition.

METHODS:

All subjects underwent a pretest and received a basic FHR physiology lecture. The subjects were then either exposed to the PALM or to additional lecture time reviewing the details of FHR categorization. All subjects then took a posttest, delayed test 6 weeks later, and survey.

RESULTS:

Sixteen subjects completed the PALM module and 19 were assigned to additional lecture. Only the PALM showed significant improvement in accuracy and fluency from the pretest to posttest (accuracy 35% versus 71%, P<.05; fluency 27% versus 65%, P<.05). Both interventions showed significant improvement in accuracy and fluency on the delayed test reflecting learning throughout the rotation. However, the PALM showed a significantly greater improvement as compared to the lecture group in both the posttest (accuracy 71% versus 47%, P<.05; fluency 65% versus 31%, P<.05) and the delayed test (fluency 58% versus 41%, P=.05).

DISCUSSION:

The PALM resulted in more accurate and fluent categorization of FHR tracings compared to traditional lecture methods, and the effect persisted on delayed testing.

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