Comparison of Online and Classroom-based Formats for Teaching Emergency Medicine to Medical Students in Uganda. AEM education and training Mahadevan, S. V., Walker, R., Kalanzi, J., Stone, L. T., Bills, C., Acker, P., Apfeld, J. C., Newberry, J., Becker, J., Mantha, A., Tecklenburg Strehlow, A. N., Strehlow, M. C. 2018; 2 (1): 5–9

Abstract

Severe global shortages in the health care workforce sector have made improving access to essential emergency care challenging. The paucity of trained specialists in low- and middle-income countries translates to large swathes of the population receiving inadequate care. Efforts to expand emergency medicine (EM) education are similarly impeded by a lack of available and appropriate teaching faculty. The development of comprehensive, online medical education courses offers a potentially economical, scalable, and lasting solution for universities experiencing professional shortages.An EM course addressing core concepts and patient management was developed for medical students enrolled at Makerere University College of Health Sciences in Kampala, Uganda. Material was presented to students in two comparable formats: online video modules and traditional classroom-based lectures. Following completion of the course, students were assessed for knowledge gains.Forty-two and 48 students enrolled and completed all testing in the online and classroom courses, respectively. Student knowledge gains were equivalent (classroom 25 ± 8.7% vs. online 23 ± 6.5%, p = 0.18), regardless of the method of course delivery.A summative evaluation of Ugandan medical students demonstrated that online teaching modules are effectively equivalent and offer a viable alternative to traditional classroom-based lectures delivered by on-site, visiting faculty in their efficacy to teach expertise in EM. Web-based curriculum can help alleviate the burden on universities in developing nations struggling with a critical shortage of health care educators while simultaneously satisfying the growing community demand for access to emergency medical care. Future studies assessing the long-term retention of course material could gauge its incorporation into clinical practice.

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