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This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Information about web-based education outcomes in comparison with a face-to-face format can help researchers and tutors prepare and deliver future web-based or face-to-face courses more efficiently. The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of web-based and face-to-face continuing education methods in improving nurses' knowledge about AIDS.
A quasi-experimental method was used with a pre-test and post-test design. In this study 140 nurses with BSc degrees were chosen through a random sampling method and divided into a web-based and a face-to-face group by random allocation. For the former group the intervention consisted of a web-based course on AIDS; the latter received a 3-hour lecture course on the same subject. At the beginning and end of the course in both groups, the nurses' knowledge was measured by a questionnaire. Pre- and post-test scores were compared within and between the groups.
The results show that there was no significant difference between the groups in either the pre-test (t(138) = -1.7, p = 0.096) nor the post-test (t(138) = -1.4, p = 0.163) scores in the knowledge test. However, there was a significant difference in the pre-test and post-test scores within each group (web-based, t(69) = 26, p < .001; face-to-face, t(69) = 24.3, p < .001).
The web-based method seems to be as effective as the face-to-face method in the continuing education of nurses. Therefore, the web-based method is recommended, as complementary to the face-to-face method, for designing and delivering some topics of continuing education programs for nurses.