Adopting a blended learning approach to teaching evidence based medicine: A mixed methods study
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Background: Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) is a core unit delivered across many medical schools. Few studies have investigated the most effective method of teaching a course in EBM to medical students. The objective of this study was to identify whether a blended-learning approach to teaching EBM is more effective a didactic-based approach at increasing medical student competency in EBM. Methods. A mixed-methods study was conducted consisting of a controlled trial and focus groups with second year graduate medical students. Students received the EBM course delivered using either a didactic approach (DID) to learning EBM or a blended-learning approach (BL). Student competency in EBM was assessed using the Berlin tool and a criterion-based assessment task, with student perceptions on the interventions assessed qualitatively. Results: A total of 61 students (85.9%) participated in the study. Competency in EBM did not differ between the groups when assessed using the Berlin tool (p = 0.29). Students using the BL approach performed significantly better in one of the criterion-based assessment tasks (p = 0.01) and reported significantly higher self-perceived competence in critical appraisal skills. Qualitative analysis identified that students had a preference for the EBM course to be delivered using the BL approach. Conclusions: Implementing a blended-learning approach to EBM teaching promotes greater student appreciation of EBM principles within the clinical setting. Integrating a variety of teaching modalities and approaches can increase student self-confidence and assist in bridging the gap between the theory and practice of EBM. © 2013 Ilic et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
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