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March 1995

A Comparison of Educational Interventions: Multimedia Textbook, Standard Lecture, and Printed Textbook

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Northwestern University Medical School, Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Ill (Drs Santer and Winter), and the Department of Radiology, Electric Differential Multimedia Laboratory (Drs Michaelsen, Erkonen, D'Alessandro, and Galvin) and the Department of Pediatrics (Dr Woodhead), The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and The University of Iowa College of Medicine and National Computer Systems (Dr Gilmer), Iowa City. Drs Santer and D'Alessandro are now with, respectively, the Departments of General Pediatrics and Radiology, The Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149(3):297-302. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170150077014

Objective:  To compare the instructional effectiveness and efficiency of a pediatric multimedia textbook (MMTB) with that of a standard lecture and of a printed textbook in a prospective, interinstitutional study.

Design:  Randomized, prospective cohort.

Settings:  An urban and a rural medical school affiliated with tertiary care hospitals.

Population:  Third- and fourth-year medical students from June 1992 to June 1993.

Interventions/Outcome Measures:  Students were randomized to one of four treatment groups: (1) computeraided instruction with MMTBs (n=39), (2) traditional lecture (n=39), (3) printed textbook (n=39), or (4) a control group (n=62). Only the control group was pretested. Following their randomized instruction, all groups were tested via a 26-question multiple-choice test. Statistical analysis was accomplished by analysis of variance of mean posttest scores. The amount of time that students spent with each educational intervention was recorded.

Results:  Three hundred two students were eligible for the study, 267 entered the study, and 179 completed the study. The instructional effectiveness of the MMTB was greater than that of the lecture (P<.05), and it was the same as that of the printed textbook. All instructional methods were more effective than the control group (P<.05). The instructional efficiency of the MMTB was equal to that of the lecture and of the printed textbook. The subjective response to the MMTB instruction was positive.

Conclusion:  The MMTBs constitute an educationally sound alternative instructional method and have a promising future in medical education.(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149:297-302.

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